Back in 2016, defenseman Patrick Banks was riding high. He’d just won the Vandy with the Michigan Gray Wolves, and he headed into free agency with the chance to land a lucrative multi-year deal; he ultimately signed with the Washington Galaxy, where he was expected to be a rising two-way star on the blueline.
Since then, though, things have gone downhill. He had a dismal year in Washington, putting up only 2 goals and 15 assists and finding himself a frequent target of boos at the Constellation Center. The Galaxy were sufficiently discouraged by his poor performance and sizable price tag that they left him unprotected in the expansion draft, where he was claimed by the Boston Badgers. And now, in the middle of a decent but unspectacular season, Banks has suffered a major leg injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year.
“This is just heartbreaking,” said Badgers coach Cam Prince. “All of us feel awful for Banksy.”
Banks’ injury occurred in the third period of Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Saskatchewan Shockers. Banks was skating through center ice as he brought the puck up. He was looking to connect with LW Lix Darnholm and start and odd-man rush, but he didn’t see Shockers LW Tadeusz Adamczyk drawing a bead on him. Adamczyk seemed to duck a bit as he collided with Banks, and the Boston blueliner wound up cartwheeling in the air and landing in a heap near the red line.
“We knew there was an issue when he didn’t pop right back up,” said Badgers C Jens Bunyakin. “Banksy’s a tough customer; it seems like you could hit him with a freight train and he’d walk away without a scratch. But he stayed down.”
Trainer Jordan Klifford rushed out to tend to Banks, who was writhing in obvious pain. Klifford and Bunyakin had to help Banks off the ice; the blueliner wasn’t putting weight on his right leg. The crowd at Shawmut Arena fell dead silent, sensing that something was terribly wrong.
As it turned out, the fans were right to be concerned. Examination revealed that Banks had suffered a fractured tibia and a torn ACL. He will undergo surgery and will not play again in 2018. Prince said that the team is “cautiously optimistic” that he will be back in time for the beginning of the 2019 season, but that it’s too soon to be sure.
“This sucks,” said Banks about his injury. “There’s no better way to say it; it just sucks. I thought things were looking up for me, and now this happens. I’m just frustrated and pissed.”
The injury also ended any hope Banks might have had for getting traded to a contender. Though the Badgers were reportedly not shopping him, sources close to the defenseman say that he was hopeful that a deal might be worked out. Now he’ll stay in Boston, and try to get his once-promising career back on track next season… whenever he’s healthy enough to play.