Rosetown native Kendall McFaull is moving on from university hockey to play professionally in Ireland.
McFaull finished up his fifth and final season with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies this year and is moving to Belfast, Ireland soon to play with the Belfast Giants in the British Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL).
McFaull, who was signed to a 1-year contract with the team, said he was approached by several teams in the league who were looking to add his defensive talents to their roster, though ultimately chose the Giants.
"I've heard lots of great things," McFaull said. they've got a great facility, nice arena, treat their players great, the fan support is supposed to be second-to-none and I've kinda already seen that. One they released it (the news of his signing) on Twitter I had a bunch of people reach out to me. Probably gained 500 followers in a couple of days, so it goes to show the kind of fan support they have."
He added his great-grandfather is from Northern Ireland, so he'll also enjoy getting back to his roots.
McFaull said he's always wanted to play hockey professionally, but his passion was rekindled this past season when he realized it was his last year to play the sport he loves with the Huskies.
"Realizing it was my last year I said, 'okay let's go as hard as I can and see what happens.' So this is a stepping stone for 2-3 years, sign a one year contract in Belfast, get some exposure in European hockey and see where it goes from there. See how I enjoy it, see how I stack up and see if any other opportunities come from that."
He said before the season gets started, he's working on the offensive side of his game.
"Try to improve that so I can kinda be more of a two-way defender." He said. "Belfast also typically has had older teams in the past. Being younger and trying to bring some high energy and I guess trying to push some of those older guys, but also, learn from them what it's like to be a pro and all their experiences."
McFaull said he'll be heading to Belfast in August for spring training camps starting on 13th.
Interestingly, the Giants first exhibition games will actually be played against a team that is familiar to McFaull.
"The University of Manitoba is flying over to play some teams over there as their kinda warm up," He said. "so my first two exhibition games will be against a team I've played against for the last 5 years. So pretty weird to travel around the world and have that happen, but yeah, the (training) camp probably runs for a week, then a few exhibition games and I think the season starts in September."