Hockey player from Coral Harbour, Nunavut, gets signed to U.S. team

·2 min read
Daniel McKitrick of Coral Harbour pictured in the 2019-20 season when he played for the Lakehead Thunderwolves university team in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Submitted by Daniel McKitrick - image credit)
Daniel McKitrick of Coral Harbour pictured in the 2019-20 season when he played for the Lakehead Thunderwolves university team in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Submitted by Daniel McKitrick - image credit)

A young hockey player from Coral Harbour, Nunavut, has been signed to play for a team in the United States.

Daniel McKitrick, 24, will be playing for the Mississippi Sea Wolves, a professional hockey team based in Biloxi, Mississippi, and part of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL).

"It feels pretty good," he said about being signed on to the team. "Because that's my dream ever since I was a young kid, to play pro hockey."

He said there were scouts watching the games at the Fred Sasakamoose "Chief Thunderstick" National Hockey Championship in May, which McKitrick was playing in.

"I got a call from the Mississippi team. I was really excited," he said.

He said watching NHL growing up made him addicted to the game and his love for hockey is what keeps him going.

Submitted by Daniel McKitrick
Submitted by Daniel McKitrick

"It could be a long season so you gotta really love working at it and working out — like, take all your time just playing hockey and become the best player you can be," McKitrick said.

"Stay positive even if there's some discouraging moments, some setbacks, but keep on the grind and keep believing in yourself."

McKitrick said he's played in tournaments in the U.S. but this will be his first full season there.

In August, he'll be leaving Coral Harbour to go to Thunder Bay, Ont., where he used to play. From there, he'll head to Mississippi in the first week of September.

By October, he'll be playing his first pre-season game.

"I'm just looking forward to playing hockey ... So practicing every day, meeting new guys and hopefully get some wins."

Being back in his home community, he said he'll miss it when he leaves again.

"I always come back here. So many memories. When I was a kid, I loved it so much. I was pretty sad about going south but I guess it all worked out."

Submitted by Daniel McKitrick
Submitted by Daniel McKitrick

McKitrick said he notices more Inuit going south to play hockey, "which is nice to see."

As for advice, he said youth shouldn't be afraid to leave their comfort zone.

"There's a lot of good love of hockey players, but they don't get opportunities like someone in the South. So don't be scared to move town. If you're homesick … you're so young at the time, you can come back when the hockey is done."

He said he'll be working hard to be a role model for other Inuit youth in Nunavut.

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