In the last two years, Nick Mitchell has seen two of his dreams come true.
One has been playing for his hometown Fernie Ghostriders. He grew up going to games and always wanted to be a Ghostrider. He was such a big fan that he created his own YouTube channel when he was younger.
“It’s a really cool opportunity,” said Mitchell.
His second dream is to play college hockey and he will do that with the University of Oregon Ducks, a successful program in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Division 2 in 2022-23. The six-foot-two, 185 pound defenceman committed this month after the Ducks contacted him on Boxing Day.
“Honestly, I’m just grateful to get the opportunity,” said Mitchell. “Going to a school that has a great reputation, it’s an honour to be able to go there.”
Mitchell joins a Ducks program that plays in the PAC-8 Conference and has won the conference five times in 10 appearances, including back-to-back in 2008, 2009 and 2019 and 2020.
The stay-at-home defenceman started his junior career in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in Grand Forks in 2019-20, playing 11 games before being traded to the Comox Valley Glacier Kings. He was traded to the Ghostriders for the 2020-21 season. This season, Mitchell has a goal and three points in 37 games. He has one assist in two playoff games and is happy with his performance.
“Being a defensive-minded player, I don’t get too many points,” said Mitchell, who scored his first career goal on Feb. 12 against the Golden Rockets. “I kind of feel like my play gets overlooked at times. I feel that I’ve been playing strong defensively and I try to play within the system. I’m getting better at it and this year was a big year for me and the team improving.”
Getting that goal was a relief for him.
“It was a long time coming. I had a lot of opportunities and just happy I finally got the monkey off my back,” he said.
While Mitchell believes he can provide some offence, he’s comfortable in his role.
“I focus on building on what I am already good at,” he said.