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SCSU captain gains some perspective during his time out of the lineup

Spencer Meier had missed two games in his first four seasons of college hockey. He returned to the lineup earlier this month after resting for an upper body injury and missing eight games.

SCSU vs Colorado_0054.jpg
St. Cloud State defenseman Spencer Meier (9) makes a pass against Colorado College in the first period Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — In his career, Spencer Meier has had to be told to back off from training and doing extra work during a season.

So when an upper body injury continued to bother him two months into the season, he had to have a tough discussion with the training and coaching staffs at St. Cloud State. The decision was for Meier to rest and give the injury an opportunity to heal.

Meier, a fifth-year senior defenseman from Sartell, has been back the last two weekends for the Huskies. Meier is expected to play this weekend when SCSU plays Denver in a battle between the top two teams in the NCHC standings. The teams play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday (both on FOX 9+) at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Spencer Meier

Since returning to the lineup, Meier is averaging 16 minutes per game.

"It was the right decision," Meier said, almost reluctantly. "I don't like rest. I don't want to be told, 'No.' I don't want to be told, 'You're done.'


"It was a really good decision by coach (Brett) Larson and the trainer (Bryan DeMaine). They sat me down and said, 'You're not at 100%.' In my head, I wanted to battle. It was hurting and it was tough. It's hard to go through. But being able to rest and look at the big picture, that was huge for me and the rest really helped. I worked with the doctors on rehab and the guys were really great with telling me, 'We're going to need you down the stretch.'"

So how is he feeling going into this weekend?

"I feel great and it's good to be back," said Meier, who is in his third season as the team's captain. "It's tough not playing. As a captain and a leader, you want to be out there and going into battle with the guys.

"I would say that I'm 95%. That last 5% is just from being out and not playing."

The uncertainty before the rest

Meier missed eight games after playing against Denver on Nov. 5. His first foray back into game action came on Dec. 30 when the Huskies played in an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba.

His first regular season game back was Jan. 7 against the University of Minnesota. Larson said that it is good to have Meier back in the lineup for this weekend's series against Denver, the defending national champion.

"There was a point when we thought we were losing him for the year," Larson said of Meier, who has played 153 college games. "Every game he plays is just a bonus and it looks like he's feeling a lot better.

"He's a big part of our power play, which we need to get going again," said Larson, whose team is 0-for-15 on the power play in its last five games. "He's a three-year captain and having that type of leadership back in the room and on the bench is critical. Spenny's been through a lot of big series like this and guys can lean on him and he knows how to handle these big situations. He helps stabilize our team during the tough moments."


Speaking of tough moments, how did Meier handle being in the stands and watching games? It is fair to say that he remained actively involved and that Clark Kuster, the team's director of hockey operations and video coordinator, heard from Meier.

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"The fans were great," he said. "When I was up there sitting, they were saying, 'I can't wait until you're back' and asking me what happened. It's definitely tough and any hockey player will tell you that it's not fun watching.

"Watching — the game is easy when you watch. You can sit up there and you should have made this play or that play. Well, the game is moving really slow when you're way up in the stands. You can be a player/coach for the guys. I was texting Clark, our hockey ops guy, on what I would see and he reports back to the coaches."

Going into this season, Meier had missed two college games in his career. He was a healthy scratch for his first game as a freshman and then he had the flu so bad that he had to be scratched for Game 1 of an NCHC playoff series on March 11.

After this season's eight-game layoff, Meier is taking some more perspective with him.

"You get a perspective on things, how lucky you are to be healthy, how lucky you are to be playing for this team," he said. "You find out how grateful you need to be when you are in (the lineup). It's a really good program and it's so much fun to play in front of these fans."

Pregame ceremony was held before Huskies played Colorado College on Saturday

Meier, by the way, will be the last SCSU player to wear the No. 9. The number was retired in a pregame ceremony on Saturday at the Brooks Center to honor Matt Cullen.

"Having a guy like that represent St. Cloud and be a part of this culture and a part of this team is really cool," Meier said. "It was cool to see him get honored on that night.


"I guess I'll be the one to wear it for the last time, which is cool. I just had a chance to talk to him a little bit and I said, 'Thanks for letting me wear it for the rest of the year so I don't have to switch numbers.' It's going to be cool to look up and see that I wore 9 and Cullen wore 9 and a lot of great players wore 9."

Minnesota Duluth Women’s Hockey delivers a shutout to St. Cloud State at Amsoil Arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Gabbie Hughes (17) controls the puck against St Cloud State forward Addi Scribner (7) on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Meier, Scribner are nominees for Humanitarian Award

Meier and St. Cloud State women's hockey forward Addi Scribner have been named nominees for the 2023 Hockey Humanitarian Award. There are 15 players who have been nominated and St. Cloud State is the lone school to feature a nominee from each of its men's and women's teams.

The award, which is in its 28th season, is presented annually to college hockey's finest citizen. It goes to someone who makes significant contributions, not only to their team, but to the community through leadership in volunteerism.

Meier volunteers time to skate with youth hockey programs and routinely skates with the Minnesota Wild Special Hockey program. Meier has a degree in business finance and is taking classes toward an elementary education degree and has a 3.4 grade-point average.

Scribner, a transfer from Ohio State, is a forward and defenseman from Woodbury. She volunteers her time with a variety of student enrichment and advocacy programs at SCSU. She also volunteers with youth hockey organizations.

Finalists for the award will be announced in February. The winner of the award will be announced on April 7 during the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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