Travis Fullerton shines in U.K.'s Elite Ice Hockey League
Former University of New Brunswick V-Red was a top goaltender in the U.K. elite hockey league last season
Travis Fullerton is a long way from the hockey-obsessed fans who cheered him on in the QMJHL and at the University of New Brunswick, but the Riverview goaltender is quickly learning just how global the sport has become.
Fullerton's trek to playing in the 10-team Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom came last year through a connection he had made earlier in his career.
It is exciting to go to a new country and play hockey.- Travis Fullerton, Elite Ice Hockey League
He was supposed to travel to play for a team in Riviere-du-Loup when the phone rang and, instead of travelling to Quebec, he packed his bags for Scotland.
When he stepped on the ice for the first time as a member of the Braehead Clan, he was surprised by how passionate the fans were.
"It felt like I was playing soccer, not hockey. It was really bizarre, because it doesn't happen a lot in North America, maybe playoff hockey," he said.
Fullerton played from 2004 to 2008 with the Lewiston Mainiacs and the Saint John Sea Dogs, before moving to the University of New Brunswick, where he won two national championships in four years.
He has also suited up for teams in the East Coast Hockey League and American Hockey League.
The 28-year-old goaltender played in 15 games last season in the U.K. league and has now signed with the Edinburgh Capitals.
Fullerton describes the quality of the Elite Ice Hockey League as between the ECHL and AHL. He said each team has about 14 import players, which has raised the level of play.
He said the enthusiasm around hockey, and quality of play, is continuing to improve in the United Kingdom.
"In the next 10 or 15 years, with the popularity of hockey over there, it will keep growing and continuing to get better players," he said.
Fullerton said he is looking forward to the upcoming season and will decide about his future once the year is done.
He said the players are treated very well and, as an avid golfer, spending time in Scotland has been an amazing experience.
"I was just happy that I was able to hold the fort for the team I was playing on. It is exciting to go to a new country and play hockey," he said.