Kyle Robinson had to make a 90-minute drive to Corner Brook to play for the Western Kings.
That isn’t the case in his new home in Wilcox, Sask.
The five-foot-11, 170-pound defenceman is in his rookie season with the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, where he has discovered what he believes is a great grooming ground for players who have big dreams.
He lives in a dormitory that’s within walking distance to the rink.
There is a shooting facility on site for whenever he has the urge to work on his shot.
In addition to all of that, there is a gymnasium at his disposal 24-7 to help him with his conditioning.
“It’s a really nice place to play,” Robinson said earlier this week.
He got his start in hockey in the tiny confines of the Gros Morne Arena in his hometown of Rocky Harbour and he was going to find out where the game of hockey could take him in life — he was going to end up at a place like Notre Dame.
It is a hockey factory on the prairies known for producing professional players such as Jaden Schwartz, Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph and others.
Robinson wants to play college hockey in the United States and he’s hoping a stop in Saskatchewan is a positive step in that journey.
Being thousands of miles away from family and friends is a sacrifice every elite athlete must deal with when they decide to move away to pursue a higher level of hockey.
There is no more depending on mom and dad to do things for them. Most of them have a friend, a girlfriend or a pet they miss when they move away.
Robinson is having no trouble adjusting to life away from home. He is adjusting nicely to playing the game at faster pace with a lot of heavy hitting, and likes how the organization treats the players who wear the jersey.
“I’m here to play hockey and that’s what I’ve got to focus on, not focus on what I’m missing out on at home,” he said.
The Hounds have a young team in rebuilding mode, with Robinson among a handful of rookies in the mix, but he’s showing his offensive ability from the backend, with three goals and 16 assists in 38 games.
He wants to find his way to the United States and believes being a Hound will help him get where he wants to be.
“You get good exposure in the United States and you get to go to school at the same time,” he said.
He’s getting a fair shake with the Hounds, so missing home isn’t really a big deal when he knows what the reward could be for him down the road.