Former Fife Flyers youngster Chad Smith has opened up about his decision to move on from his boyhood team.
The 20-year-old announced through social media this week that he had left the Kirkcaldy club after being left frustrated at lack of ice time.
And he spoke of how life on the bench got to him to the point where he didn’t feel like part of the team anymore.
“I’d actually spoken to Todd and ‘Hutchy’ (assistant coach Jeff Hutchins) in the coaching staff about two weeks before my decision to leave and I’d told them I was unhappy about the whole playing situation,” Smith said.
“They were really helpful and great to talk to, but as the weeks went on, nothing really changed. I’d got to the point where it felt like a chore going to the rink and it wasn’t enjoyable.
“The weekends felt like I was just going to watch and it really tested my love for it a bit. That made me realise I had to move on.
— Chad Smith (@Chadmister10) November 19, 2019
“To go through a week of training and get ready for games and travelling then to not play is the hardest thing to do. You put your commitment in, but you end up just watching everybody.
“You don’t feel like part of the team. When you win, you don’t feel part of it because you haven’t contributed and when you lose, you don’t have the same emotion of disappointment because you haven’t been involved.”
Smith has been listed in all but one of Fife’s games this season, but actual playing time has been few and far between for the young Scot.
Now he’s taking some time to decide what will be his next move, with the likelihood of ice time at the forefront of whatever decision he makes.
And he thanked former coach Todd Dutiaume for his understanding and support as he made the big decision to move away from everything he knows in his career.
He added: “The most difficult thing about it was, it’s probably the best group of players I’ve been around and I got on with them. It’s my local team as well, so it was really hard to walk away, but a decision I felt I had to make for the sake of my career.
“Todd, along with Danny Stewart at the time, brought me in and when I told Todd I wanted to leave, he was very understanding and wanted to help. He also told me to call him if I ever need anything, which meant a lot and I want to thank him for being so understanding.
“Posting on social media was just wanting to let everyone know what was going on – the fans, the sponsors – so that come the next game, when I’m not there, they don’t wonder what’s going on.
“It was an opportunity to thank everyone as well, but I’ve had a lot of good responses from everyone in the league and it’s been nice.
“I just want to play and that’s what my next move will be based on. I’ll take some time to think things through. I’ve had offers, but I need to think this through about what I’m going to do next.
“I would never rule out coming back to Fife in the future. The league in general has to change though as I feel the import level is a bit too high and it’s not young Brits, it’s British players in general it’s affecting.
“Obviously I want to still play at home, but it’s unfortunate I can’t now, but we’ll see what the future holds.”