Video Spotlight - Benton Nickel

LANGLEY, British Columbia - Benton Nickel is about as typical of an Abbotsford kid as you can imagine.

He’s big – 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds – he’s strong, he grew up on a small farm and he’s got the last name Nickel.

And for the opposition, he’s not all that fun to go into the corner s with.

Take one on-ice look at the Trinity Western Spartans captain – who has played with the TWU club for four years now and led the team in penalty minutes last year (82) – and you’ll quickly notice he just exudes the tough hockey playing mentality that seems to be innate in Abbotsford players.

And the Spartans are just happy he’s on their side.

But get Nickel off the ice and you’ll meet a grand character who fancifully complements his “Abbotsford” traits with a soft personality, a desire to go overseas and a passion for big business.

After attending high school at MEI (Mennonite Educational Institute), Nickel ventured to Europe where he attended Capernwray Bible School in Austria. Then, shortly after a year in Austria, he had the bug to have another go-round at Capernwray but this time he found himself in Sweden.

“It was a great experience,” Nickel said. “It was a growing experience. I met some good people and learned some awesome stuff and I think I grew a lot as a person.”

Since returning to Canada, Nickel has had two more opportunities to travel to Europe as he and the Titans team travelled to Slovakia for an Athletes in Action trip in 2007 and then, this past summer, he went to Russia on another hockey-playing trip with AIA.

“It was definitely a culture shock,” Nickel said of his Russian experience. “The people there are a little bit more cold hearted and aren’t as open. You can tell that country needs the Lord.”

 But when he came back to Canada and to Trinity Western, he was coming back to a vastly different TWU team than he had left.

The squad had a new name, the Spartans, and was full of new faces but Nickel was one of the strong constants expected to keep the team afloat both on and off the ice.

And although the team has struggled to a 2-4-0 start, Nickel has been solid. Abbotsford solid, you might say.

“I just try to be who I am and just try to lead off the ice and encourage the guys,” Nickel said. “I would say I’m more of a leader by example. I’m not overly vocal but I think that’s something that [coach] Dwayne [Lowdermilk] has encouraged me to do more and more.”

After this year, Nickel isn’t sure exactly what his next step will be.  He’d like to jump into the large business world. But that could mean leaving the country for the big city.

But you get the feeling that whatever he does, he’ll do it well.

Last Updated: 2010-12-21
Author: Mark Janzen