After seven seasons in North American and European pro leagues, heâs playing with Clarenville
© Rick Bacmanski/Elmira Jackals
In the last 10 years, Steve Yetman has worn the colours of 10 different hockey teams â on both sides of the Atlantic, including those of the ECHL's Elira Jackals.
No, Steve Yetman has never toted his pack down a Winnemucca Road, but heâs played everywhere ... man.
The 27-year-old gives new meaning to the oft-used term of journeyman. Over the last decade, Yetman has never settled in any one place for longer than one season.
âIt was great to travel the world, I loved every minute of it,â says the St. Johnâs native whose career began with the Charlottetown, P.E.I., Abbies of the Maritime junior A circuit in 2001.
Since then, heâs had stops in Nova Scotia, Missouri, Illinois, Norway, Denmark, New York, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
âIâve been to a lot of places.â
This fall, Yetman added yet another stamp to his hockey passport, albeit one closer to home: Clarenville.
âThe Caribous had been calling me for the last four or five years asking me to stay home and play for them,â says Yetman, who had told the teamâs management that when he was ready to return to Newfoundland and play senior hockey, Clarenville would be his first choice.
âLast year, I was really thinking about staying home. I actually signed a card with them, but I told them if a job came up in Europe, I would be leaving. I didnât want to leave hang them out to dry.
Europe did beckon last season, with an offer from the Tilburg Trappers of the North Sea Cup, Netherlandâs top tier professional hockey league.
âA buddy of mine I played with in Elmira (of the ECHL) was there ,so I said, âShag it, Iâll go and try it out.ââ
Through 37 games Yetman racked up 77 points, the most heâd recorded since his third year of junior with the Yarmouth, N.S., Mariners, when he put up 101 points in 52 games.
The Trappers asked him to return this season, but Yetman had already made up his mind; he was going home.
âI knew eventually there would come a time when I was going to stay home and do something else with my life, and hockey wouldnât always be there.
âI wasnât making enough money inâEurope thatâI could make a career out of it. Iâm 27, which is still pretty young, but I eventually had to do something with my life.â
That something is training to become an electrician. He was hired on with a friendâs electrical company and is already three months into his apprenticeship â âI gave myself one little shock, it was only 120 volts though, soâI was OK,â Yetman admits.
When heâs not an electrician-in-training, Yetman has provided quite a spark for the first-placeâCaribous.
Heading into the Christmas break, the six-foot, 200-pound centreman has nine goals and 11 assists in 12 games, good for second overall in the league behind teammate RyanâDesrosiers.
As someone who hasnât played competitively on North American-sized ice in a few years, Yetman noticed an immediate difference.
âOver there, you have the extra couple of seconds to react with the puck. Here, you donât have much time, youâve got to be really quick with your decision making.
Caribousâ captainâDustinâRussell, Yetmanâs linemate for much of the year, says Yetman brings a huge offensive upside.
âHe sees the ice very well,â Russell suggests. âHeâs an excellent playmaker and makes his linemates and those around him better.
âHe has high expectations of himself and itâs certainly translating on the ice this year.â
Just as Yetmanâs adjusted to playing on the smaller ice surface again, Russell says his teammate has adjusted well to the life of a senior hockey player in Newfoundland.
âSometimes guys come home and in their first year or two they have a harder time adjusting to every-day work life, and playing hockey on the weekends. Steve hasnât.â
Moreover, Russell says Yetman is very humble.
âHe certainly doesnât come across as a guy who thinks he should be playing elsewhere. Heâs content where he is.â
After travelling many a road in North America and Europe, Yetman isnât sure where heâll end up beyond this season. But thereâs still plenty of hockey left in him.
âIt would be hard to give up hockey,â he says. âIâve been going away since I was 16. Hockey is all Iâve ever known.â