Growing up in Carman Manitoba, a small town of just 3000 people an hour south of Winnipeg, Philadelphia Flyers forward Wade Allison did not grow up with a NHL close to him. Thats until the Winnipeg Jets returned in 2011.
Before the Jets returned to Winnipeg in 2011, Allison had already moved to Pembina North Dakota to start his journey to the NHL. A journey that started with Pembina Valley Hawks AAA U15.
“Missed some of the juju because the Jets weren’t there when I was growing up,” Allison said. “They left the year before I was born and came back right when I was coming to the US.”
The closest team to Allison growing up was the Minnesota Wild. But, Allison was more interested in the NHL itself, rather than a single team growing up.
“Just liked watching sweet players to do things,” Allison said on who he watched growing up.
Allison’s journey took him through many leagues before catching his big break in the USHL, with the Tri-City Storm, in 2015-2016.
During his break-out season with the Storm, Allison scored 25 goals in 56 games. Allison’s big year with the Storm led to the Flyers drafting him 52nd overall in the 2016 draft.
“It was huge for me. Wasn’t really on the radar for anybody,” Allison said on his draft year at Tri-City. “I had to work my way up.”
After being drafted, Allison moved to the NCAA to play for Western Michigan University. A place where Allison spent four seasons before turning pro after his season senior.
While at Western Michigan, Allison suffered his fair share of injuries. Which, until this year, had followed Allison throughout his first three seasons as a pro.
“You just got to battle through and keep pushing; keep working your way up,” Allison said on his injury history. “I’m past that now. I’m healthy and ready to go.”
In his first full season with the Flyers, Allison is in the midst of a breakout season – 7 goals, 4 assists, team leading +11 in 31 games. A breakout that has been four years in the making.
Allison’s long journey to the NHL, one that started in a small town in Manitoba, is special to him.
“It’s what I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” Allison said on being able to play in-front of his family at the NHL level. “For them all to see me live my dream, that’s pretty cool.”
Allison added “the dream was just to make it; just to get an opportunity to live the dream everyday.”
As for tonight’s game, there will be a small group – about 100 people – in attendance to watch Allison play in Winnipeg for the first time. A game that will be a memory Allison will never forget.
“It’s just cool right… anytime you get to play close to home,” Allison said on returning home to Winnipeg. “Got a bunch of friends and family coming to the game. It will be nice for them to watch me play.”
NOTE: Wade Allison suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s game in Minnesota and status for tonight’s game in Winnipeg is unknown.
PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports