© Star file photo
Colemans Western Kings‚Äô Daniel McCarthy is seen between the pipes during practice Wednesday at the Pepsi Centre.
CORNER BROOK Daniel McCarthy knows it will be a huge adjustment to pursue his love for hockey away from the comforts of home, but he‚Äôs ready to see where his pillow-stacking ability can take him.
McCarthy said goodbye to his family today as he ventured to explore the next chapter in his amateur hockey career. He boarded a flight to Ontario where he has been recruited to play for the Kanata Stallions of the Canadian Central Hockey League.
‚ÄúI miss hockey so I can‚Äôt wait to get back at it,‚ÄĚ McCarthy, son of Corner Brook‚Äôs Kevin and Joanne McCarthy, said last week after a deal was struck with the team.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm nervous, but I can‚Äôt wait to get up there and see what it‚Äôs all about,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúI know it‚Äôs going to be a tough level of hockey to play at and where I haven‚Äôt played much lately it‚Äôs going to be even tougher.‚ÄĚ
McCarthy was a tower of strength between the pipes for the Kings in the march to the provincial crown, finishing the regular season with an 11-3 record before going on a spectactular playoff run where he won eight out of 10 games to give the western boys the crown.
He hasn‚Äôt had such a hectic training regime since graduating from minor hockey, although he has been playing some hockey in a less intense environment a couple times per week while pondering his hockey future.
He knows the team will expect him to be stop pucks when called upon, so he knows a lot of work awaits him as he hopes to get back into the groove of competitive hockey once again.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to have to work hard when I‚Äąget up there to get in game-ready shape, but it‚Äôs like anything you put the effort in,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said. ‚ÄúAt least I‚Äôve been on the ice and when I get up there I‚Äôm going to be on the ice every day so I don‚Äôt think it will be much time and I will be back ready hopefully at the top of my game.‚ÄĚ
He‚Äôs expected to join his teammates for practice as soon as he arrives and league play resumes Jan. 4 so he will be a busy camper trying to get adjusted to his new digs and new teammates.
Of course, there‚Äôs also the challenge of moving away from his family and friends. He has some idea of how it will be, but he‚Äôs looking at the big picture of why he‚Äôs going in the first place.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be tough, no doubt,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said of being away from his close family and friends. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to struggle for the first little bit, but I‚Äąthink you‚Äôre up there for one reason and that‚Äôs to play hockey and that‚Äôs what I want to do, so I just have to keep that in the back of my mind that if I work hard something might come of it, and if not then you can always come home.‚ÄĚ
He plans on working hard and making the most of the opportunity presented to him.
‚ÄúI think I‚Äôll be alright,‚ÄĚ‚Äąhe said.
It might be a little tougher on mom and dad to see him leave. But, they fully understand that it‚Äôs something he wants to do so he just wants to get it on and see where it all leads.