By Jensen, Randy on April 12, 2018.
Lethbridge Herald – Brandon
The venue remains the same for Calen Addison, but the vantage point has changed.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes were in Brandon for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Wheat Kings.
For the Hurricanes second-year defenceman and product of Brandon, who turned 18 this week, Addison finds himself glancing up at the seats in the Westoba Centre rather than sitting in them as he did so many times as a child.
Addison returned to Brandon as the foe, but his childhood years cheering on his hometown Wheaties remains close to him.
“I had season tickets with my dad and grandpa, two rows up behind the net every year,” said Addison. “That meant a lot to me growing up and it was always my dream to play for the Wheat Kings or any team in the WHL. So it’s always been special coming to games here. Now getting to play here in the playoffs is something special for me and my family.”
For Games 3 and 4, Addison’s father, Darren, his mother, Shannon, and his 10-year-old sister, Ryan, were in the seats at the Westoba Centre like they’ve always been -fitting, given the roles they’ve played in Addison’s young hockey career.
“My mom has always been there to cook my meals and make sure I’m happy,” said Addison. “My dad has done a lot more at-the-rink stuff from teaching me all the skills and all the extra stuff I need to know to get to the next level. They’re both such important pieces to my career so far and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Understandably, Ryan is a big fan of her big brother.
“She’s pretty cool,” said Addison. “She knows a lot of the guys through social media and stuff, so it’s pretty funny. She likes watching us and cheering us on.”
His memories of the Westoba Centre are fond, but Addison’s minor hockey career in Brandon wasn’t relegated to the Wheat Kings home rink.
“I’ve played a lot here and at the other three rinks, too,” said Addison. “I can’t really pick out one specific experience. But just knowing I’ve played here my whole life and have been skating in these rinks is pretty special.”
Addison faced the Wheat Kings seven times in the regular season during his first two years in Lethbridge, before returning for the post-season appearances.
“I’m excited,” said Addison. “There are a bit of nerves that come with it, but the more nervous I am, the worse I’m going to play, is what I think. The more comfortable I am, the more I just enjoy the moment. I’ll take it all in with myself and my family in the stands. It’s going to be pretty special for me and them. So I’m looking forward to it.”
And as a longtime ticket holder in the Westoba Centre, Addison knows a thing or two about a Wheat Kings playoff crowd.
“It’s going to be pretty crazy, the playoffs are always crazy here, the atmosphere is unbelievable,” said Addison. “It’s going to be exciting.”
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