STRATHMORE – Cole Clayton played his minor hockey in with the Strathmore Minor Hockey Association, and started playing at the age of five to keep up with his friends.
Cole suited up for the league champion Rocky Mountain U15 AAA Raiders in 2014-15, and the CFR Chemicals U18 AAA Bisons the following two seasons, earning a spot on the AEHL (then the AMHL) First All Star team for the 2016-17 campaign.
After suiting up for Team South at the 2015 Alberta Cup, Cole was selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers that same year in the third round of the Western Hockey League Draft, 46th overall, and then went on to play for the gold medal-winning Team Alberta squad at the 2015 WHL Cup. The end of this most recent season marked the end of his WHL career after four seasons with the Tigers.
Cole said his experiences throughout his time in minor hockey, most notably winning the AEHL U15 (then the AMBHL) championship with the Rocky Mountain Raiders in 2015, and his two seasons with the Bisons, were key in shaping his career.
“All of my minor hockey experiences have led me to becoming the player I am today,” he said. “Playing in the AMHL for the CFR Bisons definitely prepared me the most playing in a great league with the teams we had definitely made the transition to Medicine Hat a lot easier.”
A multi-sport athlete, Cole spent many of his off-seasons participating in rodeo, and also played rugby in High School. But, hockey was always his number one.
“My favourite thing about hockey is the competitiveness and the team camaraderie… everyone battling and working for a common goal is pretty special,” said Cole. “Hockey has given me so many different opportunities; being able to meet new people and create friendships that will last a lifetime is something I will always cherish. The opportunity to be able to obtain a scholarship for my post-secondary education is another major thing hockey has done for me.”
Like most players, Cole’s biggest piece of advice to any aspiring athletes is to just enjoy the game.
“Hockey is fun, and that is the most important thing to remember,” he said.