Like a lot of Canadians, Nic Flinton started playing hockey as soon as he could walk. When he was around three or four years of age, he would be out playing on the pond with his older brother and sister.
“My family has always been a big hockey family. My brother, sister and uncle all played,” said Flinton, a forward on the 100 Mile House Wranglers’ roster from Williams Lake.
Both his siblings played competitive hockey, with his sister, Julia, playing five seasons with the University of Saskatchewan and his brother, Cameron, played for the Sicamous Eagles. His uncle Eric played a few seasons as a pro in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League.
“I looked up to my uncle quite a bit, and my brother and sister. I grew up watching them play competitive hockey.”
All four Flintons also followed a similar path, attending Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., a boarding school known for the hockey program.
The youngest Flinton joined the school after his first year of bantam hockey in Williams Lake.
“It was okay,” he recalled. “They all loved it but I just didn’t really have the same experience they did. I’d rather have been home, whereas they loved it. They couldn’t wait to get back. When for me, I couldn’t wait to be home again as soon as I left.”
Don’t get him wrong though, he liked the school. He said the coaches there shaped him to be the hardnosed grinder he is today.
“The coaching out there was pretty strong. They kind of pushed me to be better. When I went there I wasn’t very good at hockey but when I came home everyone was kind of blown away by how much better I got, even just coming home for the first break.”
He played there for two seasons before deciding to play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a league he always wanted to play in after watching Cameron in Sicamous.
He attended his first KIJHL camp for another team when he was 16, but didn’t make it. So he played another season of midget hockey in Williams Lake and decided to attend the 100 Mile Wranglers training camp that spring, where head coach and general manager Dale Hladun took him in.
“Duner has helped me a lot in the last year and a half. He’s taught me a lot,” said Flinton.
Since joining the Wranglers last season, Flinton has been a main feature. He played 47 games last year, scoring 12 points. This season, he’s so far played 24, scoring four.
“I don’t score a lot of goals, mostly just bang bodies and do my job. Keep things simple,” he said describing his playing style.
Flinton said he’s at the age where people start to realize that hockey isn’t everything. He’s focused on having as much fun as he can this year, making new friends and some good memories. He’s not so sure he’ll be back in 100 Mile next year, but he plans on playing as long as he can.