Larsen’s band lets him play on

If you spot Chicago Wolves left wing Brad Larsen an hour before game time, you might wonder what the heck he’s doing.

“People call me Spiderman or ‘rubber band man,'” Larsen said. “If you’ve never seen my (pre-game) routine before, it’s really funky stuff I’m doing with the bands. I have no choice.”

For a year and a half, Larsen experienced serious problems with his groin muscles. He couldn’t skate without pain.

“I was at the point where I’d have to quit or get surgery. It was something major,” said the nine-year pro.

Former Atlanta Thrashers forward Shawn McEachern told Larsen about Alex McKechnie, a physical therapist in Vancouver who specializes in groin injuries. McKechnie has worked with some of the world’s greatest athletes, including Shaquille O’Neal and Terrell Owens.

Larsen paid him a visit and started on his routine.

“He really knows his stuff; he’s been developing this program for 25 or 30 years,” Larsen said. “There is no guarantee it works, but he can look at someone, diagnose them and say whether they need surgery or whether they can be helped or not.”

McKechnie’s program, which involves three elastic bands, has become part of Larsen’s everyday routine. During the summer, the program takes Larsen one to two hours to complete. That shortens once the season starts, including a 10- to 15-minute session prior to each game.

“It obviously works. Last year I played 93 out of 98 games,” Larsen said.

“This guy saved me.”

Judd Sirott is the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Wolves.