Hockey player finds right fit in Alabama

Canadian hockey player Bill McCreary never imagined he would end up playing hockey in the South, much less Alabama.

“Alabama isn’t world renowned for their hockey, so I was a little nervous coming down here,” McCreary said. “But the first turnout was 5,500 people at the VBC,” McCreary said. “It was a great atmosphere, great fans and great people. You can’t ask for anything more.”

McCreary has played five seasons with the Huntsville Havoc, but has been playing hockey since he was two. Originally from Southampton, Ont. McCreary served as a defensive player and a player assistant coach this past year.

McCreary said he started in a junior league when his father was playing minor pro hockey in Madison, Wis.

McCreary earned a scholarship to Providence College and spent three years there.

“I guess I came out with skates on,” McCreary said. “Everyone in my family played, so I knew I was going to play and do something with hockey for the rest of my life.”

McCreary currently has 21 goals and 109 assists in the regular season with the Havoc. He also has 556 penalty minutes during the regular season.

The Huntsville Havoc won the President’s Cup of the Southern Professional Hockey League in the ‘09/’10 season. McCreary said this was one of his favorite moments of his career and memories of being in Alabama.

“I had been here for almost three and a half years,” McCreary said. “It had been a struggling team, but had a good group, good coaches and a good owner. We could just never get over the top and win the hardware. We put a lot of hard work into the year and it was very rewarding.”

McCreary said that it was not only the fans that kept him here, but also the team ownership.

“The Jeffries family is a great family,” McCreary said. “You couldn’t ask to play for better ownership. They really care about all of the players from top to bottom. They’re a very welcoming family and they’ll do anything to help you out.”

McCreary plans to play hockey as long as he can. He said he wants to coach hockey in the future.

“We’ll see where this whole path leads me,” McCreary said. “We’ll see where it takes me from here.”

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