It is not a happy birthday for Guelph Storm defenceman Noah Carroll.
The third-year blueliner, who turns 19 today, has been sent home by the team. He will not play Friday night against the Erie Otters or Saturday in Peterborough against the Petes.
Storm general manager Mike Kelly said Carroll, a sixth round NHL pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, was sent home because he missed a mandatory morning workout on Tuesday.
Carroll could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Noah missed our morning workout on Tuesday and we just felt it was necessary for him to go home and contemplate what was more important to him – following our reasonable guidelines for players or not,” Kelly said Thursday.
“He’s at home considering that and we will review things after the weekend.”
It seems like a fairly serious consequence for what, relatively speaking, seems like a minor indiscretion, particularly if it’s isolated.
Players have committed much more serious indiscretions in the past and not been sent home.
Kelly was asked if it was perhaps the culmination of other events, but he said no, it was an isolated incident.
“Yes. There wasn’t anything else that was significant but we felt this was important enough that we had to deal with it.
“We like this young man a great deal. It’s much more trying to make certain he’s on the right path than it is for the sake of the Guelph Storm. He’s a very talented kid. A good kid. We want to make sure he’s following the path to success.”
Sending players home is a relatively rare occurrence and usually done as a last resort.
In 13 years of covering the team, I can only think of two times it’s happened.
In 2008 general manager Dave Barr sent Jamie Arniel home and he was eventually traded to Sarnia.
In 2010 Daniel Maggio was sent home by Kelly, eventually traded to Oshawa.
There may have been others, but those are the ones that come to mind or that became public. It’s not exactly something you can look up on hockeydb.com.
Carroll certainly doesn’t come across as the type of kid who is trouble. Affable, polite, accommodating, he is also well-liked by teammates.
But this could be an attempt at a wake up call. Tough love.
Not that Carroll has been playing poorly, in fact he has been playing quite well, with 12 points in 23 games, and is paired most nights with rookie Ryan Merkley.
But it’s no secret the coaching staff expects more from him, and knows he is capable of more. Perhaps they feel it will help him focus - or refocus - on what could be a very promising future in the sport.
Kelly said this is not a situation where they have sent Carroll home to await a trade.
“No. It’s just a time out. Go into your room and look at things, just as a parent would do.”