Evan Bloodoff has credited Fife Flyers with restoring his love for ice hockey after admitting that he considered quitting the sport in the summer.
The 26-year-old Canadian has been one of several stand-outs in an impressive start to the EIHL season that has seen the Kirkcaldy team claim four wins out of five competitive matches thus far.
Bloodoff revealed he was contemplating a career change after a season that saw him traded from the Florida Everblades to the Reading Royals in the ECHL.
But after his agent suggested a move across the pond to Fife, Bloodoff did some research and decided to give hockey one last try – and is glad he did.
“I’m just having fun right now playing hockey and it hasn’t been like that for the last few years,” Bloodoff said.
“I wasn’t enjoying it as much – I don’t know why – but I just have a better feeling here.
“I even thought about going in another direction, and getting a real job, but everyone kept telling me to stick it out for another year, give it a shot overseas, or I’d regret it for the rest of my life.
“I’m really happy with the decision I made, and how it’s worked out.”
Bloodoff’s hard-working, gritty displays were rewarded with some long-awaited goals on Sunday as he scored a 10-minute hat-trick in the 7-3 win over Edinburgh – his first counters since arriving at the club.
“I’ve always struggled getting that first goal out of the way but once I get the first one they usually come in bunches so that’s a good thing,” he said.
“It’s always been something that’s haunted me, but the monkey is off my back now – hopefully for good.
“It was nice that some of the hard work paid off and some pucks started to go in for me. I got a couple of tap-ins where the puck just seemed to be right on my stick.”
As well as putting up numbers, Bloodoff has been clocking up the minutes since joining Flyers, particularly in the recent win over Coventry Blaze when he double-shifted throughout the match to compensate for injuries up front.
“It’s probably one of the most fun hockey games I’ve ever played,” he said. “You’re so involved and you don’t have time to think. It’s just fun.
“I started to feel it a little bit near the end, and my legs started to cramp up, but when you’re playing that much you don’t have time to think about how tired you are, you just push through it and do whatever you can to help the team win.
“I’m definitely not used to playing this much, but I’m really enjoying it. Part of the reason why I wanted to come here was for all the ice time.
“I just want to play hockey and be successful and do my part out there to help the team win.
“I’m probably used to getting maybe half the minutes I’m playing here, so it’s a big change for me but I’m adjusting to it and getting used to it.”
Any player selected for double shifts needs to be willing to graft, but for Bloodoff, that isn’t going to be a problem.
“I’ve always taken a pride in that,” he said. “I’ve always based my game around hard work, doing the right things, and playing well defensively and letting the offence come off that.
“That’s something I pride myself in. Where does it come from? I just hate losing.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win and that’s the end of the story.”