For some hockey players following their dream and excelling at the sport they love all boils down to an opportunity.
Moncton’s Cole Stewart has a new opportunity.
A new opportunity to prove he can be an impact player and a leader at the QMJHL level.
That opportunity came in a way of a trade yesterday morning.
Stewart didn’t expect his phone to ring yesterday with the news he had been traded to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
“I felt before the trade deadline that I needed a new opportunity, but I didn’t think it was going to happen or if I was going to stick it out there for the year,” confessed Stewart.
“I guess I was in a little bit of shock when the call came in yesterday morning.”
Stewart has excelled at every level throughout his career so when it came time to make the jump to the Q he seemed more than ready to face any challenge in order to live out his hockey dreams.
The dream of playing on a Memorial Cup team in front of adoring fans turned into a nightmare last season when Stewart injured his shoulder subsequently ending his season.
It’s been a long road back for Stewart, but his time in Halifax will be forever etched on his heart.
“It’s been definitely up and down,” admitted Stewart of his time with the Mooseheads.
“Being part of a Memorial Cup team was a really good experience for me even though I was injured I was able to learn a lot from my teammates.”
“It’s was definitely hard both physically and mentally,” Stewart said of being injured last year and not getting an opportunity to play.
“I stayed positive the whole way through,” confesses Stewart.
“Chris Pearce and Robin Hunter helped me the entire way through and I give them a lot of credit to them and I think I came back stronger from it.”
“It was a long process, but I’m feeling good now so it was definitely worth.”
From rehabbing all year to embracing the grid to getting back into the swing of things, Stewart’s unwavering love for the game continues to fuel his journey through all the ups and downs.
“This year didn’t go really the way I wanted it do to, so it’s going to be good to get a new opportunity in Bathurst,” Stewart said.
A new opportunity is one thing, saying goodbye is still unbelievably difficult.
“Obviously, I was really close to my billet family in Halifax. They helped me a lot through the surgery and they were really good with it and they tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible, so it was hard leaving yesterday.”
As for his first opportunity to play in the league, well it’s something you never truly forget.
“Cam Russell was good to me,” Stewart said
“I’m thankful and appreciative of him drafting me and giving me the opportunity to play in the league and on a Memorial Cup team.”
“I enjoyed my time in Halifax,” explained Stewart
From high scoring Midget prospect to a full 200ft energy player, Stewart is quick to offer up advice for any Midget or Bantam aged kids wanting to live out their dreams and play in the QMJHL.
“It’s definitely hard adjusting to the league,” Stewart said.
“Last year I didn’t even get the chance to get adjusted because of injury problems and stuff, but I also think it comes with opportunity as well.”
“You need lots of opportunity to get comfortable and to get to where you want to be,” admitted Stewart.
“Obviously, I had a pretty good Midget career, but I want to show I can translate that into this league now.”
Maybe a new opportunity with a different organization is just what the doctor ordered for the Hub City product.
“I’m really excited for the new opportunity that I have with the Titan.”
“The Titan are a very young team, so I’m going to be one of the older guys and hopefully bring some leadership and put my work boots on and play as high in the lineup as I can.”
“With that opportunity I hope I can show my offensive side,” Stewart said.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I’m going to take this opportunity and run with it.”
“I think it’s a good chance for me to show my leadership and what I can do on the ice and I’m super excited to do that and help out the team.”
It would appear that a long time teammate and very close friend might also be given a new opportunity to showcase their skill and ability with Stewart in Bathurst.
It’s rumoured that Jeremie Jacob will be claimed off waivers tomorrow by the Titan.
Stewart and Jacob have a special kind of chemistry.
“I’m really excited to be reunited with Jeremie,” Stewart said.
You could say the former Moncton Flyer teammates and line mates go way back.
Stewart and Jacob played together coming up through the ranks of minor hockey and even lived together during their time with the Miramichi Timberwolves of the Maritime Hockey League.
“We have great chemistry,” confessed Stewart.
“It’s going to be awesome and very comforting to have Jeremie there.”
A new opportunity, that might be all that it takes for Cole Stewart and Jeremie Jacob to find their stride.