Adam Kingsmill has seen the looks before. The 15-year-old goaltender from Smithers, B.C., is used to the quizzical glances coming from the far side of the
ice before puck drop.
“When I’m doing a pre-game warm-up [the other team] just kind of stares and looks at me, like, ‘Is this kid seriously playing right now?’ They just can’t
really believe it.”
Sixty minutes of stops later, Kingsmill has usually shut out those doubts.
“[I’ll see players] a few weeks later and they’ll say, ‘Dude, that’s awesome that you can do that. You’re a great goalie.’”
When Kingsmill was two years old he lost his right leg below the knee in a lawnmower accident. He spent six weeks at the Ronald McDonald House in
Vancouver, more than 1,150 kilometres south of Smithers. By the time his family could go home, Kingsmill had been fitted with a prosthetic leg.
“I had a hard time walking,” he says. “I didn’t really want to walk on it and my parents were getting frustrated. But once I started walking I just
Skating soon followed. Suited up to stay warm in the middle of a central B.C. winter, Kingsmill learned to skate on the frozen pond in his backyard. He
started hockey in Initiation, took his turn in net in Novice and strapped on the pads for good in Atom.
“I just fell in love with it,” says Kingsmill. “You’re on your own and I think I like that aspect of being a goalie, that you’re the last line of defence.
I don’t know what it is about it, if it’s the big saves – I just love it.”
Kingsmill has had to make very few adjustments to play the position.
“I feel really normal on the ice, but there’s a few times where it would be nice to be able to bend my ankle,” he says. “There’s a few times on the post
I’m shaky, but I’m working on that. I’m getting better every ice time.”
After getting cut his first year in Peewee, Kingsmill has made the rep team with Smithers Minor Hockey the past three seasons. He even has the Storm logo
laminated on his leg.
He got an early start on 2015-16 at the beginning of August, when he joined 120 other Midget-age prospects at the Caribou Cougars’ three-day evaluation
camp. Kingsmill was released but he came away from the weekend even more excited for the season ahead.
“[The coach] wanted to keep in touch throughout the season because I was battling a knee injury,” says Kingsmill, who had surgery a few weeks later. “He
wants to see me back next season.”
Kingsmill will try out for the Storm’s Midget rep team in September. And as if the coach’s encouraging words weren’t enough motivation, there’s an added
incentive to take another stab at making the Cougars next year: the team, which plays in the British Columbia Major Midget League, will host the 2017 TELUS
Cup, Canada’s National Midget Championship.
Kingsmill is no stranger to perseverance and the art of the comeback. Three years ago he split his spleen in half – “that would be the second time I did
it,” he says – and his pancreas when he crashed during a motocross race. Doctors told him he’d never play contact sports again. “But I didn’t really want
to believe that, so I ignored them basically and went out and ended up making the rep team the next month.”
Kingsmill, who plays fastball in the summer, recently quit motocross racing to focus more on hockey. The goalie has big plans that go beyond just his Grade
“It’s every kid’s dream to play in the NHL,” he says. “Honestly, it’s what I want to do but at the end of the day I want to become a coach or a trainer.”
In the past he’s worked with goaltenders at the local hockey academy for elementary and high school students. “I’m really getting the training now and just
learning about the body. It would be awesome to do. I just love the game. I want to be a coach. I want to be a player. I want to be on the ice.”