There wasn’t one Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team interested in giving Andrew Antle a shot last summer when he became eligible for the entry draft.
Some players would feel dejection with the reality that nobody wanted them.
Others decide to push forward and play the game they love and not worry about it, because it’s not something they have control over.
Antle decided to brush it all aside and finish his minor hockey career as a third-year pivot with the Dennis GM Western Kings of the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League.
He couldn’t have asked for a better final year with the Kings, winning the scoring title this season with 57 points on 27 goals and 30 assists in just 32 games as the Kings finished first in the regular season after losing only two games all season.
“I don’t pay much attention to that kind of stuff, really. I just go out and play,” Antle said earlier this week.
The Kings open a best-of-seven semifinal series this weekend against the pesky TriPen Osprey with the first two games — tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. — being played at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.
Antle admits there is a bit of pressure on him to continue his offensive prowess, but he’s quick to point out that what he and the Kings did during the regular season means nothing now because it’s a fresh start when the playoffs kick into gear.
“The worst thing you can do is worry about it, so you’ve just got to go out and play the game and do the right things and the points will come,” he said.
He believes any team can win a series in the playoffs when the intensity level rises, so he’s been telling his teammates to be ready for a battle because the Osprey have some great players who can do damage and they don’t know the meaning of quit.
“They are intense and they work hard every game, so the series is going to be really competitive,” he said.
“It’s a whole different game in the playoffs because anything can happen,” he added.
Depth is in the team’s favour, with coach Mark Robinson having the luxury of rolling four lines most of the year, but Antle says it’s important that nobody lose sight of the role they play and not make the mistake of straying away from what made them a successful team during the regular season.
“The main thing is being consistent, because consistency wins hockey games,” he said. “You can’t have anyone trying to change their role and trying to do different jobs in the playoffs.”
One last shot at a championship is something he wants to make the most of because it would mean a lot for him to go out as a champion before he sees where hockey plays a role after he finishes high school.
“That’s why I’m here and that’s what we’ve been pushing for all year,” he said.