It was an experience Kyle Flemington says he’ll never forget.
The former OHL defenceman is returning to North America following two seasons with the Edinburgh Capitals of the Elite Ice Hockey League.
Following an junior career where he suited up for 117 games between Saginaw, Sarnia and London, the Parkhill native spent his final year of junior in the GOJHL with St. Marys and St. Thomas. Upon graduating from junior hockey he was left with a decision all too familiar among young hockey players, “what’s next?”
Flemington took a year off, playing a handful of games with the Petrolia Squires (WOAA), but ultimately contemplating his next move.
He was looking at staying in North America, eyeing the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) as a potential destination when the opportunity overseas came up.
“My girlfriend actually went over there to be a teacher, so I figured it was great time to not only travel, but play some high quality hockey at the same time,” says Flemington, who was already in London, England when the opportunity came about. “I drove six hours from London to Edinburgh to play in a couple exhibition games and it went from there.”
Flemington says the travel was fairly similar to his time in the OHL, except for a little change of scenery.
“Your driving through the England countryside and the Scottish countryside on these windy roads. When we go over to Belfast we actually take a ferry over, it’s about a two hour ferry so that was pretty cool.”
Although he credits hockey fans in North America, and in the OHL, he was amazed by the fan support in the UK.
“Your home team is going to love you, they’re going to back you up. It’s like you’re at a soccer game, the fans will sing the whole time, they have different chants for different players on the team, it’s a pretty cool experience.”
After two seasons in Edinburgh, Flemington returns to North America looking for opportunities in the ECHL.
“I finished up some schooling I started when I was playing with the London Knights, so I did that and got that out of the way so I can focus on hockey and I still have a degree to fall back on.”
While chatting with a few former teammates in London, Flemington says they all noticed some distinct differences between playing pro and his time in junior.
“The comradery with the guys in a junior dressing room isn’t necessarily the same as in pro, because a lot of the guys in pro will have families and kids they have home to as opposed to junior when you’re with each other all the time.”
Flemmington scored three goals and 21 points in 112 games with Edinburgh, while adding 188 penalty minutes.
Here’s the full conversation with Kyle Flemington.