The players have welcomed him with open arms.
The people in the community have made him feel at home.
He has his first game under his belt and he liked how he handled himself in his first chance to prove he belongs.
Liam Smith is finding life with the Aces pretty good in the early going.
Smith is going to have to adjust to a hectic daily grind as he begins the next chapter of his hockey exploits after playing competitive hockey with the Western Kings for three seasons of provincial major midget hockey league action.
The 18-year-old Corner Book resident and fellow Western Kings teammate Andrew Antle are two of the fresh-faced rookies suiting up with the St. Stephen Aces in the Maritime Junior Hockey League.
“I think I’m fitting in pretty well. Everybody has been nice to me coming in here so I’m really excited about the season,” he said.
Smith got his first taste of Maritime Junior A hockey action when he dressed for the Aces in the season opener — a 3-2 loss to the Truro Bearcats. He was pleased with how he performed and thinks he can find his way with a lot of hard work, as well as an increased familiarity with how everything goes at the Junior A level.
“I played more than my fair share of minutes and I felt like they were giving me an opportunity to really prove myself, and I felt like I did a good job with it,” he said.
He knows there’s work to be done to improve his stock with the Aces and he’s willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him in an effort to help the team put wins on the board.
Smith enjoyed his three seasons with the Kings and he appreciates all the help his former coaches gave him when he was looking for encouragement and advice on how to be a better player and a better teammate.
He knows the importance of a strong work ethic and the importance of putting the team before individual goals from playing major midget hockey, viewed as the stepping stone to taking the game to another level at the college or major junior level.
He’s happy to be an Ace. It remains to be seen what he has up his sleeve when it comes to finding his way with a new team in a new community a thousand kilometres away from the comforts of home.