Ethan Anstey is a Fort McMurray Oil Baron no more.
The 19-year-old was dealt to the Cowichan Capitals of the BC Hockey League from the Alberta Junior Hockey League squad for future considerations. The Capitals announced the deal on Wednesday morning and Anstey was on the move when reached by Yellowknifer that same day.
“It wasn’t really expected,” he said. “I thought I had a great training camp. I was told I was playing well and I played in all four of the pre-season games.”
The problem? Fort McMurray had five centres and with that kind of traffic jam up the middle, something had to give.
“Fort McMurray is an older team, more mature, and I guess they had to make some moves to create their 25-man roster,” said Anstey.
The Capitals seemed happy with the acquisition as Brian Passmore, the team’s head coach and general manager, said he can’t wait to have Anstey in the dressing room.
“Ethan is a hard-working player with good speed and tenacity,” he said. “He is reliable and an aggressive player. Overall, Ethan will help our checking line depth and be able to contribute offensively. Ethan brings energy, great character and enthusiasm to our team.”
The Capitals had shown interest for a while, according to Anstey.
“They tried to trade for me during the off-season but Fort McMurray told them they were holding on to me,” he said. “It’s a place I’m going to really enjoy playing in. It’s hard to leave Fort McMurray because of the bonds and the friends I made there but they wanted me in Cowichan and I’m really looking forward to it.”
What role Anstey will play in Cowichan is still up in the air, but Passmore is aware of his potential. Passmore coached Anstey during his bantam days at Shawnigan Lake School, which is located mere minutes from the Capitals’ home arena, and re-uniting with Passmore is something Anstey relishes.
“I do know I’m probably going to get some more ice time,” he said. “No idea where I’m going to be playing but I think I’ll be playing a bit more.”
Another person Anstey will be re-united with is Samuel Schofield, a fellow Yellowknife player who is back in Cowichan for his second season.
“We talked about playing together in junior and I think (Samuel) was more pumped to hear about the trade than I was,” said Anstey. “I know some of the guys on the team already through Sam and through school, so it’s going to be a good place and, I think, a good fit for me.”
One thing he isn’t terribly fond of is the thought of going through another training camp as the BCHL traditionally starts a bit later than the AJHL.
“I’m not too excited about that but at least I’ll be in shape,” he said.