Leeds Knights: Frustration for Jordan Griffin as he waits for return to ice

FRUSTRATION probably doesn’t even come close to how Jordan Griffin is feeling right now.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 6:45 am
RECOVERY TRAIL: Leeds Knights' Jordan Griffin. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints

The 19-year-old defenceman has not only been forced to miss the last five games for Leeds Knights, he has also had to make the difficult decision to pull out of playing for Great Britain Under-20s at this year’s World Championships in Romania this December.

A car accident almost two weeks ago has left the former Sheffield Steelers and Bradford Bulldogs’ defenceman on the sidelines and it is likely to be another month before he is able to take to the ice again.

Left nursing a head injury that required stitches and pain and soreness in various other parts of his body, Griffin is slowly making a recovery from his ordeal and focussing on when he can get back to being part of the Knights’ season once again.

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Jordan Griffin, pictured on duty for Great Britain Under-18s. Picture courtesy of Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

It is proving all the more frustrating for the talented youngster given how well the Knights were doing at the time of his accident and the form he was beginning to enjoy under head coach Dave Whistle.

Six wins out of seven games in the Autumn Cup saw the Knights top the group standings ahead of a crunch meeting with Griffin’s former club Sheffield Steeldogs.

But that game was the first he was forced to miss, the South Yorkshire club winning 6-3 to leapfrog the Knights and finish as top seed for the semi-finals.

Greg Wood’s team have subsequently chosen the Knights as their opponents in the last four of the competition – Telford and Swindon Wildcats will contest the other semi-final – but, for Griffin, that two-legged tie will come too early, leaving him hoping his team-mates will be able to secure the win that would give him a chance of at least playing in the final.

Jordan Griffin, far left, stands with Leeds Knights' team-mates Bobby Streetly, Cole Shudra and Ben Solder after a pre-season defeat at home to Swindon Wildcats. Picture courtesy of Kat Medcroft/Swindon Wildcats

“It’s obviously been a nasty experience to go through, the car accident,” said Griffin. “I had to have stitches in my head because there was quite a bad cut and my whole body was aching the next day and for a bit after that.

“It’s almost two weeks ago, but there’s still quite a bit of soreness. It does shake you up. I guess I’m used to being hit in hockey, just not in this particular way. It’s not a nice thing to happen and is the last thing I needed, especially when we were playing so well at the time.

“It’s going to be another few weeks before I can play and I’ll probably need to train for a week or two before that. I’ve still got the stitches in and I obviously need to make sure my head is right before I think about playing again.”

The regard with which Griffin is held within the GB programme was made clear when Under-20s head coach Martin Grubb made special mention of the Crewe-born blue liner when announcing his squad for Brasov.

Leeds Knights' head coach, Dave Whistle. Picture: James Hardisty.

“It’s gutting to have to miss out on that,” said Griffin. “But it was my decision. I spoke to Martin and told him I probably wasn’t going to be on the ice for four or five more weeks and then to go to a World Championships two weeks after that probably wasn’t the best idea.

“It’s the last thing I wanted to do. I’ve played for GB for the last few years, every year since I was 16, apart from when Covid struck last year. This would have been my last year with the GB juniors, so it is very frustrating.”

For now, though, Griffin is concentrating on being back in a Knights jersey as soon as possible.

“We were doing so well and then I got hurt and Cole (Shudra) has got injured,” he added. “It’s not great timing, it never is – but my health is the most important thing right now.

“Overall, I’m really pleased with the way things had gone both for the team and myself so far.

“To start with, we won six or seven in a row and I was happy with how I’d been playing, so I’ll just have to make sure I get back to how I was doing when I finally do get back on the ice.”