When something you love goes missing for a period of time, there’s a certain amount of gratefulness when it returns.
Nathan Ellsworth spent three years playing competitive hockey with the St. Stephen County Aces of the Maritime Hockey League after honing his skills with the Western Kings of the provincial major midget hockey league.
He lived and breathed the game. Hockey was a big part of his life.
Last winter, with his junior career behind him, Ellsworth opted to move to Fredericton with his girlfriend and he played some recreational hockey for the fun of it.
If he craved a competitive skate, it would require him to drive a couple of hours north and he wasn’t interested in being a road warrior.
It was a long year for him.
It was different not getting excited about a big game on the horizon or being on the ice in a pressure situation with fans turning their attention to him in anticipation of Ellsworth performing something special.
Now, it would seem all is right in the world for the young man from Rocky Harbour.
The 22-year-old Ellsworth is back in the game and is a happy camper because of it.
Thinking of life after hockey, Ellsworth was interested in a career as a power line technician.
A lot of his buddies had chosen that career path and he figured it would be an active trade to pursue.
He applied for acceptance into the power line technician program at College of the North Atlantic last year and got accepted for the program.
He chatted with management with the Stephenville Jets about him getting his first taste of senior hockey and the Jets were eager to sign him to a card.
He made the trip to Corner Brook on Saturday to watch the Royals tangle with the Port aux Basques Mariners and quickly realized something.
“Seeing all the fans and the calibre of hockey makes me excited about playing again,” Ellsworth said Monday after a busy day in the classroom.
He believes the Jets expect him to put some good numbers on the scoresheet and he’s ready to do what he can to help the team string some wins together.
“There’s a lot of talk about me in town and what I’m supposed to do for the team, but I just know that I know my skill level and I know what I can do so I just try to take the pressure off myself by knowing that,” he said.
The proof is there for Ellsworth. In each season for the Aces, his offensive output doubled from eight in his first year to 37 in his final season. It is a sign he doesn’t take too long to adjust to things.
He is confident he can help the team. He just plans on being noticed for his hard work.
The Jets open the West Coast Senior Hockey League campaign with a showdown against the Corner Brook Royals Friday 8 p.m. at the Stephenville Dome.