GLENS FALLS — With the Adirondack Thunder’s last regular-season home game Friday, comes the pregame announcement of team awards.
There isn’t an ironman award, but if there were it would undoubtedly go to forward James Henry, who is the only person to have played in all 70 games. Already the Thunder’s all-time points leader and an alternate captain, the fact that Henry hasn’t missed a game is even more impressive because of his 5-foot-9, 174-pound frame.
Many times this season, bigger opponents have tried to put Henry not just into but through the boards. He’s done several interviews this season with ice bags taped to him, but like a Zamboni, he resurfaces.
“It’s definitely something you don’t think about until it’s gotten to the point where you’re the only guy on the team that’s played all of them,” Henry said. “Pretty fortunate to stay relatively healthy — a few bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s just kind of being able to contribute in different ways if I’m not scoring goals. I can help out a little more on special teams or something.”
First-year Thunder head coach Brad Tapper needed a guy like Henry, and fortunately he got a whole bunch. But he knows having Henry helped greatly.
“As we’ve said, the effort is above the door and he bought in from day one, which is very important,” Tapper said. “He didn’t know me coming in, I didn’t know him, but I’m proud of his leadership in the room. It’s why he’s wearing a letter.
“He’s awesome in the community, which is what we wanted from day one from everybody,” Tapper added. “He’s a good part of our leadership group and he takes that message in there every day. You couldn’t ask for a better guy than that in your first year as coach.”
Henry is second on the team in scoring with 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists). While playing in all the Thunder’s games this year means he hasn’t gotten a call-up to any AHL team, his leadership on the Thunder is greatly appreciated.
“I just do what I can to make everybody feel comfortable and get everybody on the same page,” Henry said. “There’s guys that probably came close to playing all of them, but were called up or things along those lines. It’s nice to be in the lineup and having played all the games, it’s something I don’t take for granted. Have to work hard for that and help the team as much as I can.”
“Hats off to him for playing in all 70 and we’ll do our best to get him in all 72,” Tapper said.
Title still possible
Friday’s game against Manchester has implications on the North Division regular-season crown. Manchester, in first place, is one point ahead of Adirondack, but also has three games left as opposed to the Thunder’s two. Reading is also still in contention for the division title.
“I’m sure they’re going to load up and make sure they have the right players in the lineup, and it’s going to come down to one or two mistakes, and whoever makes those is probably going to lose the game,” Tapper said. “We need to be sharp, we need to be focused. We have a great group in here and we would love to have a division (title).”