With their playing career distant in the rear view mirror, athletes sometimes struggle to recall scoring leaders or MVP’s from years past, but they always remember their best teammates. And that is precisely where Ethan McIndoe’s name will enter the conversation.
It’s not that McIndoe has failed to post solid statistics — he has scored ## goals and added ## assists in almost 250 Western Hockey League games over four seasons. But that’s not what he is known for or what he views as the strength of his game.
“My job is to play a gritty, hard-nosed game and to be a leader,” he said, “My responsibility has grown during the four seasons I’ve been here and so have my opportunities. I’m a quiet guy, so my leadership needs to show through my effort. I want the younger guys to learn by watching how I play.”
McIndoe made the Chiefs roster as a 16-year-old, playing in 62 regular-season games. The biggest lesson he learned as a young player, he says, was not to be afraid to take chances.
“As a 16-year-old, you’re usually expected to learn more than to perform,” he said. “You can’t make a lot of mistakes if you want to stay in the lineup, but you can’t play scared either, because everybody makes mistakes.
“Every year has been better for me, because I’ve developed both as a player and a person. We all grow up faster than the average kid, and have the opportunity to meet a bunch of different guys and make good friendships that last. I always try to be respectful to everyone even if we have differences, and to be there for all my guys.
“I see myself as a player who can fill lots of different roles, some of them big, some small,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in my work ethic, and every night I work as hard as I can.
That work ethic is certainly noticed. McIndoe was awarded the team’s Hardest Working Player award for the 2016-17 campaign and followed that by earning the club’s Unsung Hero award last season.
“I never quit halfway through anything. I don’t have big numbers, but I’ve learned in my WHL career that if you do the little things correctly, you’ll be successful.”
He values the welcoming culture of the Chiefs, where younger players are treated with respect from the time they come to Spokane.
“In order to be a championship team, everybody has to be equal,” he said. “Everybody’s here for the same reason and we all have a job to do. When every player knows he’s important in his own way, it promotes unity, and good things happen.
“When my career is over, I want to know that I left my jersey in a better place than I found it.”
Spokane Chiefs Education Advisor Joe Everson works with all Chiefs players, from those still in high school to those pursuing a post-secondary education or preparing to do so following their WHL career. He helped lead the Chiefs to the WHL’s Scholastic Team of the Year Award for the 2015-16 season. Throughout each season, Everson will profile individual Chiefs to provide insight into their lives, their mindset and their goals for the future.