Back to the future in Sweden for former Rockies’ Doan Smith

21-year-old Doan Smith is making his way back to Sweden for his second season in the Swedish Hockey League.

Former Rockies player Doan Smith is heading back to Sweden for another shot at professional hockey there.

For 21-year-old Doan Smith, former forward for the Columbia Valley Rockies, the 2016-17 hockey season will be a new opportunity in foreign yet familiar territory.

Entering his second season in the Swedish Hockey League playing for the Nynashamns IF, Smith will be looked on as a leader for his two former Rockies’ teammates and friends Damon Raven and Ryan Lawson who are joining Smith this year in Sweden.

After playing two seasons for the Rockies in from 2013 to 2015 scoring 40 goals in 71 games, Smith made the journey to Sweden at the start of last season as the next step in his hockey career beyond junior hockey. As a native of small-town Cessford Alberta, Smith said playing professional hockey has always been a dream of his.

“Every kid wants to play pro,” he said. “Growing up you think that it’s going to be the NHL but now that that is kind of passed, it’s coming out of the KIJHL and going over to Europe.”

He said that while the adjustment to the culture in Sweden was a big difference for Smith, the transition on the ice was equally as daunting.

“Big difference right away is that we’re coming from the KIJHL where most of the rinks are smaller and you go over there where every rink is going to be an Olympic ice so it’s a lot more skating, it’s a lot more skill and speed rather than the KIJHL being a tough, physical league,” he said. “The focus there is the conditioning wise, stick-handling, the passing; it’s honestly going back to fundamentals like when you’re in minor hockey and shying away from knowing you’re going to get hit or worrying about physical factors.”

As a small forward weighing in at 161 pounds at the height of 5’8”, this more open style of hockey with less physical contact would theoretically play into the benefit of Smith as a newcomer. In his first 12 games with the new club, Smith recorded three goals and four assists but said he felt that he could be bringing the team more than he had produced.

With more potential playing time back in British Columbia with the Rockies, Smith talked with the team in Sweden and made the difficult decision to play out the rest of the year in Canada in hopes of developing a stronger skill set for the following season.

“They had fully invited me back and they were okay with me staying the rest of the year but they fully understood and agreed with me that it would be better to go back and develop knowing what I had to work on and being able to come back this year and hopefully putting up that point per game player they expect me to be over there,” he said.

Returning to the Rockies, Smith did just that as he recorded 42 points in 25 games at nearly a goal per game pace. He said the time back home in a Rockies uniform allowed him to get the perspective he needed to become a valuable asset in Sweden this year not only as a player but as a teammate to newcomers Raven and Lawson.

Smith said there are a number of pieces of advice that he’s going to try to impart on them as they ease their way into a new culture and lifestyle.

“You get put in a place where they don’t speak the same language so honestly it’s about enjoying it,” he said. “It’s just going over there and being calm and treating it like it’s hockey after junior and that not many people get to do that so you just have to enjoy it and enjoy the moment.”

He said that he understands the opportunity walks a fine line between enjoying the experience and putting in the work required to make the transition to upper levels in the Swedish Hockey League.

“You can go over there and play a year or two years and enjoy it and take it as a vacation or you can go over there and work hard and make it into a profession if you really wanted to,” he said.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read