Mike Ansell played for the Junior B Fort Erie Meteors during the 2003/2004 season. Since then Ansell has really found his place in the hockey world.
After his season with the Meteors, he went on to Buffalo State College and played for the NCAA Division III hockey team from 2004 to 2008 while earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Health and Wellness.
Upon his graduation from Buffalo State in 2008, he moved back home to Virginia where he met mentor Wendy Marco, the founder of Cold Rush Hockey, a skill development company and leading skating instructor.
Marco hired Ansell who was able to bring pucks and hockey into the company and he became a leader in the company. He worked with between 150 and 200 youths a week in private lessons during winter months. In spring and summer, he worked with higher-level players ranging from Junior B to NHL.
Along with working with the development company he also coached youth hockey. He helped coach the Ashburn Xtreme and Washington Little Capitals. During his time with the Little Capitals he helped run on-ice skill instruction which earned him the title of director of player development.
His time in Virginia lasted six years before moving closer to Fort Erie. When Harborcenter opened in Buffalo in the fall of 2014, Ansell moved to Buffalo and established himself quickly on the staff of the Academy of Hockey as the skating development coach.
From September to May he spends his time with novice to junior A level players, and the summer months are devoted to working with higher-calibre players.
“You have to find your passion and be willing to grind,” Ansell tells his students. “If you want to work in sports – it may not be as an athlete – find love in helping someone else. You can be a significant part if you can find enjoyment in that. Watching players smile after battling with a hard skill creates inner happiness in you.”
Living so close to Fort Erie also gives Ansell the opportunity to come back to the Leisureplex from time to time with his two boys, especially when they are playing in tournaments. “It’s nice to see my boys playing a sport I love, and seeing them play in Fort Erie on the ice that I also played on is a special moment for me.”