Rivermen’s Smutek perseveres: ‘Doctors told me I would never play again’

By Dave Eminian, Peoria Journal Star (Photo by Matt Dayhoff)

PEORIA — Skyler Smutek celebrated his 100th pro game Saturday.

For the Peoria Rivermen defenseman, it was far more than a number. It was a huge milestone in a journey of pain, perseverance, and faith.

“Doctors told me I would never play hockey again,” Smutek said. “I just couldn’t accept that. I spent the better part of over four years of surgeries and rehabs and people telling me to move on and that I wasn’t going to play.

“But here I am.”

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