Looking back, Ethan Bear figures his hockey future rested on two concerns and one life-changing choice.

"It was essentially, did I wish to be an NHL player?" the Edmonton Oilers defenceman says. "Or did I want to be an AHL gamer?"

The choice was available in the middle of an injury-plagued season with the Bakersfield Comets of the American Hockey League. After playing in 18 games for the Oilers in 2017-18, Bear found himself buried on the organizational depth chart. He scored simply one objective through the first 33 games for the Comets and didn't get a single call-up to the Oilers for the whole 2018-19 season.

The time for action was upon him.

"I desired to be a top, elite athlete and work every day and aim to get much better every day rather of being pleased with what I had," states Bear, 22. "I made a lot of changes. It was a way of life modification for me, and I like it.

"I feel a lot much better."

In pursuit of his dream, Bear cut carbs from his diet plan, packed up on vegetables and consumed a lot of grilled chicken and steak. He followed LeBron James on social media, taking in the L.A. Lakers star's devotion to nutrition and fitness as a recipe for athletic consistency. He purchased and devoured books on elite training and performance.

A member of the Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan, Bear draws inspiriation from Indigenous NHLers who have come before him, such as Jonathan Cheechoo. (Associated Press)
Not bad for a person who came to Edmonton's training camp as a middle-of-the-road defensive prospect with low expectations of breaking the opening-night roster.

"It's about what you make and what you work for," states Bear, who has two objectives and 4 points heading into Monday night. "It's the same as whatever in life.

"I put a great deal of time and a lot of focus this summer into ensuring I was stronger. And I was prepared. I was just displaying the work I put in. I understand I can deal with things."

Each time he hits the ice, Bear takes pride in representing the Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan. He is a star back home where he found out to play hockey and appreciated his own Indigenous hockey heroes such as Carey Price, Jonathan Cheechoo and Jordin Tootoo.

"I'm just attempting to do my part now," states Bear, a fifth-round selection (124th total) in the 2015 NHL entry draft. "I'm just showing them that effort, staying focused and generally remaining on track in life will take you anywhere.

"I like simply playing hockey. Hockey is my dream. It's whatever I wished to do. So this is my enthusiasm.

"Just do not attempt to be somebody you're not."

After playing in 18 games for the Oilers in 2017-18, Bear found himself buried on the organizational depth chart."I desired to be a top, elite athlete and work every day and aim to get much better every day instead of being satisfied with what I had," states Bear, 22. Bear leads all NHL rookies in ice-time, logging an average of 21:12 per video game. The development of Bear is one of the big factors the Oilers(10-4-1)are connected with the St. Louis Blues for first in the Western Conference heading into Monday's video game against Arizona."It's about what you make and what you work for," states Bear, who has two goals and 4 points heading into Monday night.
Bear(74)leads all NHL novices in ice time, playing on the Oilers 'top matching with Darnell Nurse.(Jason Franson/Canadian Press)Instead of bouncing between Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. in the off-season, the Regina native stayed in Edmonton all summer season and worked out under the guidance of Oilers strength and conditioning coach Chad Drummond. The outcomes? Bear leads all NHL novices in ice-time, logging an average of 21:12 per video game. And those minutes are tough ones on the leading matching with Darnell Nurse. Playing with grace beyond his years, the five-foot-11, 197-pounder is an exceptional passer with excellent vision and calm under pressure."We understood that he was truly good, "Oilers forward Zack Kassian states."He's in shape.

He trained like a real pro this summer season, and I believe he's really profiting now. "When experienced defenceman Adam Larsson went down with a damaged leg, many outsiders figured the Oilers had absolutely no possibility of enduring October with a winning record. The development of Bear is one of the huge reasons the Oilers(10-4-1)are connected with the St. Louis Blues for initially in the Western Conference heading into Monday's game against Arizona."He's actually engaged," Kassian states. "He's a driven, driven kid. He's delighted to be here."We're going to need him to continue being the Ethan Bear he can be for us to be effective. "Fifteen games into the season, Bear's name keeps showing up

in early chatter surrounding the Calder Trophy for the NHL's leading novice.(

Other candidates-- none surprises-- consist of Colorado defenceman Cale Makar, Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes and his bro, New Jersey centre Jack Hughes.)


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