What’s Up, Doc?

Throughout the month of August, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment covers Bobcats second-year veteran forward Mike Dockry.

Name: Mike Dockry
Position: Forward
Hometown: Burnsville, MN
2011-12 Team: Bismarck Bobcats
2011-12 Stats: 17 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS, 6 PIM
Favorite Book: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Favorite TV Show: How I Met Your Mother
Highlight of 2011-12: “Standing on the blue line when they brought out the Central Cup after we won the division in Austin.”

The Tragically Hip

Bismarck Bobcats fans were only getting to know Mike Dockry in 2011 when the forward went down with a hip injury following the Cats’ 4-3 win at Minot on October 1.

Soon after, Dockry—who had previously had surgery on his right hip—learned that he was going to need surgery on his left hip, sidelining him for what would turn out to be two months of the season.

“It started out that my hip was just annoying me, not that it was painful,” recalled Dockry, “but the more we got into the season, the more it went from just clicking and being annoying to actually starting to be painful. I went in to have it looked at and the doctors told me I needed more surgery.”

When it was determined that Dockry would need to miss significant time, he returned to Burnsville to receive his surgery and then recover.

Though the rehab was frustrating, Dockry kept working hard and following the team, never losing motivation to return.

“I’d listen to games on the radio and talk to the guys while I was home,” explained Dockry. “I just wanted to get back out there so bad.”

Dockry returned to Bismarck following the Christmas break and saw his first ice time in a 3-2 win at Aberdeen, but struggled to really break loose in the way he hoped, getting just a goal and an assist in 11 second-half games.

In fact, the veteran forward admits that he never really got back to 100% in 2011-12.

“The first time I felt like myself playing again? Probably main camp last week,” conceded Dockry.

Despite playing through pain and limited capacity, Dockry registered one of the most important assists of the year: setting up Dan Kovar for a backdoor pass to Buster Hebda for a late goal that put the Bobcats up 3-1 on Austin in the Cats’ Game Four clincher at Riverside Arena.

…It’s Who You Know

When a player decides to sign a tender agreement with a team in the NAHL, any number of factors can go into his ultimate choice. For Dockry to sign on the dotted line with the Bobcats, a little home cooking helped things along: a phone call to former Bobcat and former Burnsville teammate Charlie Mosey.

“When [head coach and general manager] Layne [Sedevie] and the Bobcats scouts talked to me, the first thing I did was pick up the phone and call Charlie,” noted Dockry. “He told me all about the program, and everything he was saying made me sure that Bismarck was where I wanted to play.”

Mosey’s ability to connect with and persuade Dockry came as no surprise to the Bobcat coaching staff, who saw more similarities between the two forwards than the “Previous Team” column of the roster.

“It’s uncanny, almost freaky: when you watch Mike and you watch Charlie out there, it’s almost the same player you see,” assessed Sedevie. “The way they skate, the way they make plays, it’s almost identical.”

Dockry always gets a laugh from the comparisons.

“Charlie is a great player and I love being mentioned with him, but the style similarity is a coincidence, honestly.”

A year after the Bobcats’ success in recruiting Dockry, he decided to pay the hometown phone call forward: putting in a good word to former Blaze teammate Cory Chapman while he was mulling a tender offer from Sedevie.

“As soon as Layne told me that they were talking to Cory, I picked up the phone and gave him a call,” said Dockry.

Chapman would eventually sign the Bobcats’ tender agreement, and will join Dockry on the Bobcats training camp roster at the end of the month.

Forward Thinking

With a season in the NAHL under his belt and a summer to train and physically recover all but over, Dockry is excited at the prospects of a 2012-13 campaign that he thinks could overshadow the record-breaking efforts of last year’s 45-win squad.

“Looking at the guys we had in Main Camp, I honestly think we have a great shot at breaking last year’s win record,” offered Dockry. “The forwards are really deep, I was pretty impressed with the ‘D’ and the goalies were strong, too.

“All the ingredients are there.”

Though he’s quick to point out the solid performances of others at Main Camp, Dockry was a major bright spot at the three-day tryout: scoring four goals in four games.

As far as personal goals for the season, Dockry’s primary aim is modest but also very self-aware.

“My biggest goal is going to be to stay healthy and play as many games as possible. The best way for me to contribute is to be out there.”

Stay tuned to BismarckBobcats.com over the next month as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2012-13 season. Later this week we will feature Rory Vesel, Ryan Callahan, Terry Hennen and Kevin Becker.