First Season Overseas Filled With Success And Adventure For Kyle Hope
“My first pro season in Europe was a successful one. I enjoyed my time in Manchester England and made some lifelong friends on the team there,” Hope explained. “I made the move to Denmark and immediately was rewarded with winning the final 4 tournament in my first weekend.”
In 35 games with the Manchester Storm, Hope notched 13 points in 35 games, followed by 7 points in 9 games with the Frederikshavn White Hawks.
It wasn’t a seamless adaptation this year for Hope, as he had to adjust back to playing defense, after playing forward for the last 4 years, and learning a new language.
“The language barrier in Denmark was a new experience, but we adjusted rather well and the organization took great care of us.”
“After the last 4 years of playing forward after only 12 games into my first pro season, due to injuries. I was switched back to defence and have now switched full time back to defence and have really enjoyed it especially on the big European ice.”
Hope has played in front of large crowds his entire life with 5 seasons in the OHL, 5 seasons in the OUA with the University of Windsor, and a 20 game professional audition last year in the ECHL.
This year, the same continued in Manchester and Frederikshavn, until that is COVID-19 happened, and fans were pulled from games in Denmark far earlier than elsewhere. The experience playing in an empty arena in response to coronavirus was a unique one.
“Playing in front of no fans was definitely a strange experience,” said Hope. “It’s been a long time for me with no fans, they even limited the arena staff and team staff so it was very quiet in the arena. It was harder to keep the intensity for the full game with no atmosphere as well.”
An empty arena was one thing, but not being able to finish the playoffs, especially with a championship calibre team was more difficult.
“It is a bit frustrating to not be able to play playoffs as I felt we have a very strong team here in Frederikshavn with a chance to win the championship. Peoples health and safety are first and foremost though and I understand the Danish Hockey Union’s decision to terminate the season as the virus is spreading rather quickly in Denmark and Europe.”
When hockey ended for Hope, the challenge to get home didn’t, as he, and Thamesville’s Dane Fox remained stuck in Europe as travel restrictions left them stranded.
Both however, were able to return home along with their fiancee’s and dogs safely last week.