Not making it helped William Nicholl to become a London Knight
A loathsome life lesson to learn is often that ability isn’t enough.
Whether your greatest talents lie in selling ketchup popsicles to people wearing white gloves or solving Goldbach’s Conjecture, the realization that you can’t just walk in and wing it is vital.
Often attaining that realization is the toughest part, and it usually comes through failure.
A measure that what you were doing wasn’t enough to bring you the success you were looking for.
If you are fortunate to have that happen and you are able to appreciate it and use it, you can often open doors that you never thought existed.
William Nicholl was a bantam-aged hockey player (now U15) in the Ottawa area. He was a good player but even he didn’t believe the sport he was playing held an enormous future.
“If you asked me if I thought I would be here ten years ago I would have said no way,” admits Nicholl.
He was a good player then but maybe not among the echelon that could make the jump to major junior.
And that’s when something seemingly unfortunate happened.
Just when the career of a young hockey player destined to play in the OHL should be ramping up Nicholl’s was taken in another direction.
“I got cut from my major bantam team,” says Nicholl.
At that age that could easily spell the end of any happy hockey dreams.
Like many things, the hockey world can be seen as a pyramid. The higher you in the game, the less room there is for everyone.
At that moment, Nicholl seemed to have hit his own peak. He could have accepted it and looked for another pyramid in another place in life entirely, but the unpredictability of the pandemic in 2020-21 created a loophole and Nicholl grabbed it.
“Of course at the time I was very upset but it was the COVID-19 year so I got let into the bubble because the team had to take extra players,” Nicholl remembers. “I used it all through that year as fuel just to get better and work harder and do better.”
Natural ability wasn’t going to be enough and Nicholl was gifted that knowledge.
There weren’t many games to play, but Nicholl found ways to turn heads and when 2021-22 began he was a very different player in a very different place.
Nicholl spent this past season playing for the U18 Ottawa Senators.
“It was a great year. My coaches were unbelievable,” says Nicholl. “They were really supportive and they really pushed me along and my parents are really supportive and I had a really good team… we all just worked together and that’s what helped me to get there.”
“There” was a nod from the London Knights who selected Nicholl in the 3rd round of the 2022 OHL Priority Selection.
For someone who didn’t believe he was destined for a chance at major junior, only 51 names were called before his.
“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a dream come true,” Nicholl says. “London has a great hockey team and a great reputation. I’ve only heard good things.”
And the Knights have only seen good things from their newest player. Nicholl signed a standard OHL player agreement on July 27.
“William is a highly skilled and talented player. His puck possession skills are elite, and we are excited for him to be a London Knight,” said London general manager Mark Hunter.
Add in the year against older players in the HEO U18 league in eastern Ontario and the little voice in the back of his mind that knows the good things in life don’t always come easily, Nicholl could find himself on his way to a career in the game of hockey after all.
by 980 CFPL