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Howie Centre’s Kyle Farrell gains professional experience in rookie season in Norway

Kyle Farrell of Howie Centre completed his first year of professional hockey in Norway in March after the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farrell finished the year fourth in points (36) for Stjernen Hockey. CONTRIBUTED
Kyle Farrell of Howie Centre completed his first year of professional hockey in Norway in March after the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farrell finished the year fourth in points (36) for Stjernen Hockey. CONTRIBUTED
SYDNEY, N.S. —

After playing four years of university hockey, Kyle Farrell had multiple offers to continue his career in North American and Europe.

When the dust settled, the Howie Centre native made the decision to move to Norway and suit up for the Fredrikstad-based Stjernen Hockey.

“Norway has a great reputation as a league with a lot of skilled players looking to progress through the European rankings,” said Farrell, in a March interview with the Cape Breton Post.

“I felt that the option to join Stjernen was the best one for me.”

In his rookie campaign with the team, the 26-year-old was counted on to provide offence. He finished the year fourth on the team in points (36) recording 13 goals and 23 assists in 45 regular-season games.

Because of COVID-19, the GET-ligaen, which is Norway’s premier hockey league, cancelled its playoffs, cutting the season short for Farrell and his teammates.

“I thought I had a pretty good year offensively,” said Farrell. “As an offensive player, you are always hungry to score more and search for new ways to create offence.”

Despite the move to a new country, Farrell believes he adjusted well to the Norwegian lifestyle, noting the only challenge for him at first was the language barrier.

“A high percentage of the population speaks great English,” said Farrell, who lived in an apartment with his girlfriend during the season.

“The team treated us very well and accommodated us to the highest level — we lived very close to the city which was nice when we had some down time.”

Kyle Farrell of Howie Centre as a member of the Acadia Axemen during the 2018-19 season. SUBMITTED PHOTO/ACADIA ATHLETICS
Kyle Farrell of Howie Centre as a member of the Acadia Axemen during the 2018-19 season. SUBMITTED PHOTO/ACADIA ATHLETICS

Farrell began his hockey career with the Cape Breton County Minor Hockey Association and went on to play with the Cape Breton Tradesmen of the Nova Scotia Eastlink Major Midget Hockey League.

In 2010, Farrell was drafted by his hometown Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the third-round, No. 39 overall, at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

During his four-and-a-half-seasons with the Eagles, Farrell posted 103 goals and 114 assists for 217 points in 252 games.

Farrell’s best season in an Eagles uniform came in his final year, recording 42 goals and 88 points in 63 games during the 2014-15 campaign.

The five-foot-eight, 181-pound centre was later recruited by Acadia University and played four seasons with the Wolfville-based Axemen in the Atlantic University Sport.

Farrell, who was enrolled in the business administration program at Acadia, recorded 46 goals and 44 assists for 90 points in 106 games. He also played in the 2018 University Cup national championship tournament, posting a goal and an assist in the team’s lone game.

“I met some great people there and I will always be grateful for my four years there.”

“Playing professional has always been my goal, and at Acadia I was able to get my degree, while also progressing my game, so I could make the jump to pro following graduation,” said Farrell, who instead of his regular No. 9 jersey, wore No. 94 in Norway, representing the year he was born.

Farrell, who signed a one-year contract with Stjernen Hockey last June, was one of five Canadians on the Norwegian team along with Braden Christoffer, Daniel Ciampini, Andrew O’Brien and Joel Rumpel.

“It helped a lot having four other Canadian players on the team,” said Farrell. “We became really close as the season went on — it was great to form those relationships and play with high quality people and players.”

Although Farrell doesn’t know where he’ll play next year, as of now, he isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning to Norway.

“There’s a good chance I could return to the same club next year,” said Farrell. “With that being said, I’m currently weighing all my options and will determine what I feel will be the best fit for me next season.”

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