Recorder & Times – Jonathon Brodie
Adam Van Ettinger is a fighter. It’s not often he drops the gloves, but the winger had to fight for everything he’s earned.
In the process he’s become the poster boy in some regards for the Brockville Braves and CCHL, starting his Brockville hockey career in the U18 Baby Braves ranks and then moving on to the Jr. B Tikis before settling with the Jr. A Braves this season.
Van Ettinger is sort of the proof for the league that the steps put in three years ago in hopes of progressing players through each level can work.
“I played AA my whole life and when the U18 first came in they gave me a shot and told me that they wanted me to develop as the leagues go up and get faster and faster. I think it was a really smart move with them and it really worked,” Van Ettinger said. “The kids that are coming up, I think, are going to have a lot more success getting in Jr. A that much quicker.”
The 18-year-old forward has adapted to the speed of the game through each season at a different level and with the Braves he’s had to tailor his style of play as well.
He jumped from the Tikis, where he was the team’s top scorer with 39 points in 42 games, and went to the big-club Braves for his first-full rookie campaign where he’s penciled in the bottom-six. With the Braves this season he’s changed his role, going from a natural scorer to a complete disruption for his opponents with the way he pinballs off them and is constantly attacking when he doesn’t have the puck.
Braves coaching staff has rewarded his line – typically alongside Joshua Spratt and Christophe Cote as of late – with more ice time because of their strong play and they’ve been a bit of spark plug for the rest of the team at times.
If Van Ettinger sticks with the Braves he’ll have another two season with the club to continue to develop.
Last season he practiced full-time with the Braves once the Tikis season was over and he suited up for them for nine games with limited playing time.
“Everybody starts that way,” said Van Ettinger, who has two assists in nine games this year with the Braves, when talking about being put closer to the bottom of the depth chart. “You have to work your up.”
Van Ettinger’s rise through the ranks comes as no surprise to those who know his back story.
The Cornwall native has had asthma since he was 18-monthsold and because of it he’s been told most of his life that he, “will never go anywhere,” he said.
When he was young he would tell people back home his dream is to play high-level hockey, Van Ettinger added, and the typical response would be, “He’s not going to be worth it. He’s going to be a waste of our time.”
Van Ettinger’s main goal his whole life has been to prove everybody wrong. Prove to people that his asthma won’t slow him down or stop him.
Playing hockey with asthma has never been easy. He keeps his inhaler close by at all times and it can always been found on the bench during games and practices. The more Van Ettinger pushes himself the more his lungs get used to everything and the less he has to use the inhaler.
Van Ettinger has a positive and likeable personality and he is the type of person that has taken what can be looked at as a disadvantage and has turned it into something that has driven him to another level.
“I just have to keep battling and keep fighting,” said Van Ettinger. “With the asthma I have to train even harder to prove myself. I think it has made me a better person and a better athlete.”
It’s definitely taken him to a better level of hockey.
The Braves will host the Nepean Raiders on Friday with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m.
Original Story at Recorder.ca