Coates is a 15-year-old native of Savage Cove on the Northern Peninsula who makes a four-hour trek every weekend to play provincial AAA hockey with Western.
It’s been a price he was willing to pay to test his mettle at the highest level of hockey available to him on the island.
But, this season, Coates decided he doesn’t want any part of the long road trips he encounters travelling back and forth so he has moved to Deer Lake and is staying with teammate Jacob Oake so he could spend more time with his teammates on and off the ice.
He believes the move will be in his best interest after earning a spot with the Dennis GM Western Kings in the provincial major midget hockey league in his first year of midget and excited about his first game this weekend with the TriPen Osprey in the city for a two-game set to kick off the 2017 season.
“I wanted to move up here because I didn’t like the drive,” Coates said Thursday afternoon.
Coates, a five-foot-10, 170-pound forward, comes into his rookie season after an impressive 2016 campaign with the Western Kings AAA bantam team where he finished second in league scoring, seven points behind teammate Mark Hillier, after racking up 18 goals and 34 assists in 28 regular season games.
He has hopes of cracking a major junior or Junior A roster on the mainland before his young career ends, but for now he’s excited about being a part of a group of guys who he feels are poised to make some noise on the provincial scene once again this winter.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “They are all good fellas and they can play the game so I think we will have a good shot at winning.”
The 2017-2018 provincial major midget hockey league kicks off Saturday with the Kings hosting the TriPen Osprey in the season opener 7 p.m. at the Corner Brook Civic Centre. Game 2 of the series is slated for Sunday 11 a.m. at the civic centre.