The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club announced Friday that 1999-born defenseman Nick Watson has decided to leave the hockey club and stop playing hockey.
“I’ve been struggling with this for the past three or four weeks, but I tried to tough it out because hockey has been my life the whole way through but at the end of the day, I had to make a decision that makes me happy. Hockey is hockey, it’s a sport, but if you’re not happy playing it then there no reason to play it,” said Watson. “This organization was very good to me from the start when I got drafted until now. I can’t thank the coaching staff and Pete for what they’ve done for me. My teammates have been great to me and have been a second family to me.”
Watson was originally drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round (28th overall) in the 2014 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The product of Delta, BC, appeared in 33 games during his rookie season in 2015-2016 where he registered one assist with a plus-2 rating and 13 penalty minutes. He appeared in the Dairy Queen Home Opener this season failing to earn a point.
“I just think I’ve lost passion for [hockey]. I don’t think it’s fair to my team or to my coaches that if go out there and I’m not enjoying it and giving it half effort, I just don’t think it’s fair to the team,” Watson continued. “My plan is to go back to school back home and improve my marks and hopefully get into post-secondary and pursue my dream of entering into the sports medicine field. I need to set myself up for the future and see what happens. I want to thank the City of Lethbridge. The fans here are awesome and they’re behind us all the time.”
“First of all this is bigger than the game of hockey, it’s a life decision for Nick, not anything to do with hockey other than he’s lost his passion to play the game. It puts it in perspective of how hard this game is to play for the guys that do stick it out,” said Hurricanes General Manager, Peter Anholt. “It’s not easy to lose a quality 17-year-old defenseman, but we will have to do our best to back fill in any way we possibly can.”