Late but great addition | Carter Bickle
By Kyle Cotton
Carter Bickle was getting ready to hit the ice with his U-9 hockey team in Toronto when the goaltender didn’t show up. He put his hand up to volunteer. He put on the pads and never looked back.
A decade later, now 19, he’s pushing to become the starting netminder for the Charlottetown Islanders.
Bickle was signed just a few days before the season began. Luckily, he was able to adapt quickly to Charlottetown.
“I was able to get a couple practices in and I was able to meet some of the guys before-hand. I got to build some relationships before the opening game,” he said. “They all welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like one of the boys.”
Head coach Jim Hulton said he was already on their radar from last season.
“We had already done some background checks on him and we knew he fit from a character perspective. We checked some goaltending sources and liked what we heard.”
The feeling was mutual.
“When they reached out to me that they were interested, I pounced on it right away and took the opportunity.”
Before coming to play in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League, he was a member of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.
Bickle posted a 4.86 goals against average and an .854 save percentage over 28 games in Oshawa.
In his first season in Charlottetown, he has seen a lot of improvement. Through 29 games with the Isles, he has an .881 SV% and a 3.68 GAA and is star
ting to pick up the majority of the starts.
Coming to the Q, Bickle noticed one main difference.
“The Q is more team-oriented. In the OHL, I find there are a good couple lines but I find here there are a lot of teams built top to bottom.”
One thing that has always stayed the same has been his pre-game rituals.
“No matter home or away I always eat the same pre-game meal. I get my billet mom to make me chicken thighs, corn, and rice,” he said. “I always put my gear on my right side before my left too. I started playing well when I was doing it so I just kinda stuck with it.”
Bickle, like many other Isles’ players, has high praise for Hulton and the coaching staff.
“They’ve been really good towards me. They’ve taught me a lot, they’ve given me tools in not just hockey but in life,” he said. “They’ve taught me to give it your all. Don’t regret anything. No matter what I do to give 110 per cent.”
Hulton has also been a fan of what he’s seen from Bickle recently.
“It takes time, no matter what age you are. I think you have to settle into a number one role and get used to playing more. You could see that in the opening half of the year. He had some ups and downs but was gaining confidence in every game,” said Hulton. “Since Christmas, I think that reset and break helped everybody but he came back with a renewed focus and you can see it in his play.”
Bickle’s stellar play has paid off as he has started 14 of 16 games played since returning from the break.
Despite being from Toronto, Bickle actually grew up as a Los Angeles Kings fan. He was inspired by star goaltender, Jonathan Quick.
“He was just so… quick. He was athletic and agile. At that time when he first started, goalies weren’t as crazy technical as he was. I felt like I could relate because of how flexible I was at a young age,” he said.
Carter and the Isles hit the ice next tonight against the Cape Breton Eagles in Sydney, NS. Fans can tune in at MAX 93.1 FM or through a CHL TV subscription.