An opportunity might be the only thing a player ever needs to prove they belong.
An opportunity is the only thing that Carter Ansems has ever wanted.
Like so many other young Maritimers Ansems endured the bitter cold of this region to hone his skills on the family’s outdoor rink.
The backyard rink became his “field of dreams,” a sacred place where he developed not only his skills, but a passion and love for the game.
“I only went inside to eat and then it was back out on ice,” Ansems said.
Day after day, hour after hour, Ansems worked hard on his craft dreaming of one day playing at hockey’s highest level.
Hockey dreams can’t be accomplished without hard work dedication or an opportunity.
Carter Ansems opportunity to prove he can play at the next level is fast approaching.
The Canning, Nova Scotia product is currently ranked 53rd on the QMJHL CSR Final Draft List.
“This season was nerve wracking at some points,” confessed Ansems, who suited up for the Valley Wildcats Midget AAA program.
“It was a big jump coming from Bantam to Midget and there was a different atmosphere with scouts.”
Ansems understood how important this season was especially when it came to balancing peak performance with potential distractions of his draft year and nerves.
“I always found away to overcome those nerves and play to the best of my ability.”
Ansems is focused on putting in the work to get prepared for the next level.
“The upcoming months are very important for my future.”
In 35 regular games with the Wildcats this season Ansems had 2 goals and added 7 assists.
One has to look beyond the numbers and look at the full potential or the total package when assessing, evaluating and projecting young defenceman.
The smooth skating rearguard is quick to recognize potential areas of improvement within his game.
“I worked on my mobility and injury prevention this season and I was also trying to get stronger.”
“When the season ended I have been running and lifting weights to do as much as I can to push myself to become the best possible player I can be when camp comes around,” stressed Ansems.
Hockey scouts are like miners, always digging for a hidden gem.
The world of scouting can be highly subjective and ultra competitive.
Making comparisons and projecting based on experience and instincts is the name of the game.
There’s certainly no magical crystal ball that predicts future stardom.
Scouting isn’t an exact science.
Some scouts are quick to discredit certain players and fixate on weaknesses or shortcomings, while others embrace the full potential and upside of the player.
With that being said at 6’6 180 pounds it’s pretty hard not notice Carter Ansems when he steps on the ice.
Because of his stature, Ansems could obviously be compared to Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Which is obviously an unfair comparison.
Nevertheless, Ansems skates exceptionally well for his size and possesses above average puck skills coupled with a hard shot from the point.
Ansems ability to judge gap control, combined with his size and understanding of his own body, makes him a unique talent with tons of potential.
You can focus on the weaknesses or you can choose to look at the strengths and upside.
Ansems possesses excellent agility, balance and edge control for a player of that size and age.
His skating ability truly jumps off the page.
Who taught him how to skate that well?
“I think like any kid when they’re young and their father played the game, they always look up to them and that was the same for me,” Ansems said proudly.
“He’s a great role model and taught me a lot of skills and techniques growing up.”
Ansems has good vision, instincts and possesses a solid first pass.
Like many young defenceman, Ansems tends to struggle when he tries to over handle the puck or do too much with it below the dots in his own zone.
This is one area that the young highly talented defender will have to work on and develop, but that takes time, reps and experience.
“I need to work on my D zone and become a stronger player in that end to provide a team with both great defensive skills and offensive skills.”
“I also want to learn how to use my size to full advantage,” Ansems said.
A less is more approach benefits all young defenders when trying to crack a QMJHL roster.
What would it mean to be drafted and play in the QMJHL?
“It would mean the world to me to be drafted,” admitted Ansems.
“I still remember going to Mooseheads games watching Nathan MacKinnon.”
“It’s been my dream to play in the QMJHL really ever since.”
Some would say Ansems is a raw talent or a project.
Scouts that embrace and project the strengths of a young players game and provide them with the opportunity to grow and develop are usually part of a winning culture and organization.
If Carter Ansems continues to progress and develop he could be a steal for the organization that selects him.
Ansems is extremely excited to have the opportunity to make the jump.
“I feel like I can fit into the QMJHL next season, but I have to continue to work on my skills and gain confidence as a player by training hard this offseason.”
The young two-way defender is extremely grateful for the opportunity and understands that his journey in the game to this point wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support from his parents.
“My parents have made a huge sacrifices for me to play hockey.”
“My mom has made every single game and she is always happy to see me step on the ice.”
“My dad has made so many sacrifices as well. He works in Halifax which is hour away and comes back from work and takes me right out to practice, which is roughly thirty minutes away.”
“I’m extremely grateful for amazing parents to have put everything on the line for me to play a sport I love.”
A long time QMJHL Scout said it best.
“All scouting is about giving a kid a chance whether your drafted or signed as a free agent, it’s about giving them an opportunity.”
From the backyard rink, to honing his craft at each level of minor hockey and into the provincial ranks, Carter Ansems has been preparing for this opportunity his entire life.