With a 1 goal and 1 assist performance against the Edmundston Blizzard on January 3rd, Nick Abbott had things going for him offensively and he was establishing himself as being a key member of the Rapids’ strong offensive unit this season. Abbott scored the tying goal in that contest, sending the game into overtime. It was however the last goal the team would score before putting a pause to their season due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19.
The Newfoundland native is in his first campaign with Grand Falls after coming over from the OJHL where he earned 20 points in 46 games over two seasons with the Wellington Dukes, the Markham Royals and the Brantford 99ers. Abbott fits well in the fast pace Rapids’ offensive system, thanks in large part to his great speed.
“I would say my biggest strength as a hockey player would have to be my speed/skating. Growing up having a step on other players helped me get to where I am today”, says Abbott.
Rapids’ head coach Brad Mackenzie goes even further in describing his 20-year-old forward.
“Nick is one of the players I’m most looking forward to seeing down the stretch for our team. It’s unfortunate the pause came when it did because I felt like he was really starting to take off and I think fans can expect a big finish from him when we get back in action. Nick is a very skilled player who has a lot of tools including his speed, hands and shot. He has endured a lot in his junior hockey career and is now really focused on enjoying the game and getting better every day. When players can eliminate distractions and simply enjoy playing the game with energy, good things usually happen. That is what we are seeing from Nick as of late and will continue to see when this season restarts.”
Abbott has indeed learned to enjoy the game thanks to his driven passion for the sport. It was actually one of his objectives entering the season with his new team.
“My personal goal for this season was to just enjoy the game and have fun. I feel like I spent worrying about a lot of things in my career that were out of my control and never really focused on my passion for the game. Finding my passion and getting better everyday as a player and a person would be my goal; having fun and being a great teammate would be my ultimate goal”, says Abbott who also points out that hockey has brought a long list of many great things to his life.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the amazing people I’ve met along the way, especially friendships that will last a lifetime. I’ve also travelled all across North America seeing different places and living the life not many teenagers get to live. Hockey has had a big part in making me who I am today. I think the best advice I’ve been given throughout my career is to only worry about what you can control, which are attitude, work ethic, and how you operate everyday. Be careful who you put trust into, but most importantly trust yourself above everyone.”
As Abbott hopes to play university hockey next season, he seems mature enough to make the decision that will influence his future career and have an impact on his life.
“Always follow your heart with the decisions you make”, he mentions. “It might be the right or wrong decision, but at the end of the day, I’ve tried to make decisions that were best for my hockey career. Either they are positive or negative outcomes, we have to learn from it and move forward.”
Speaking of influence, Abbott admits that he was introduced to the game by his friends when he was very young.
“I started playing hockey when I was around 6 years-old. My friends really influenced me into playing at the start. Thankfully, my parents were extremely supportive and did whatever they could to give me an opportunity to play.”
Facing a lot of adversity growing up, Abbott played his minor hockey in his hometown of Bonavista (Newfoundland) until he was in 9th grade. He then decided to move to Ontario to a new environment and finally get the exposure needed to play at a higher level. He joined the Ontario Hockey Academy for three years when he was at the Midget level, then he decided to make the jump to Junior A in British Columbia.
“I played in BC for one season and it’s been a roller coaster ever since”, mentions Abbott who would then go on to play for four OJHL teams during a span of only two seasons. That’s when he decided to join the MHL and the Rapids for his 20-year-old junior season.
Abbott enjoys playing in Grand Falls and is amazed by the support of the community and the fans towards the team.
“Being from a small town, I really like playing here, especially since I’m a big fan of the slower lifestyle. The fans are amazing and hopefully, we will be allowed to fill the rink soon! Our coaching staff and organization make it a place where we always have to hold ourselves accountable and focus on being a better hockey player/person everyday. They treat us very well.”
He also sees his team as a very special one.
“We have a great group of guys here in Grand Falls. I’ve played hockey for a lot of different teams, but this is definitely one of my favourite places to play. We have a good mix of young and old guys and a good different mix of character guys. This helps translate to the ice and the desire to play for one another”, says Abbott who has been spending some time on his billet family’s outdoor rink before the Orange phase returned to the region, perfecting his skills while pursuing his schoolwork during the day.
“Time sometimes passes very slowly, but we’ve been making the most of the situation.”
Abbott and his teammates hope a return to action soon. Being inactive has been tough for players and the whole organization alike, but now that they have received the green light to at least hold on-ice practices, the team looks ready to make another great run.
Hometown: Bonavista, Newfoundland
Date of birth: July 2, 2000
Position: right wing, shoots left
Height and weight: 5’ 8 165lbs
Best on-ice hockey moment: playing at the Atlantic Challenge Cup
Favorite hockey player: Alex Ovechkin
Favorite team: Washington Capitals
Players most likely to model his style after: Tyler Johnson, Brad Marchand, Brayden Point
Favorite movie: A Star is Born
Favorite TV show: Gossip Girls
Favorite sports outside of hockey: Basketball and working out
Favorite quote: “tables turn, bridges burn, you live and you learn“