But for 20-year-old defenceman Bryan Allbee, it was a necessary move.
The local product was dealt to the RBC Cup host Chilliwack Chiefs last month after requesting a trade from the Prince George Spruce Kings – suiting up in just 25 games between the regular season and playoffs last year.
Allbee says the move out to the Fraser Valley allowed him to mentally refresh and hit the reset button.
“For me, I kind of realized when I came home last year it’s a lot more than just playing hockey when you’re living at home. I’ve got a lot of buddies and a lot of family so it’s just easier when you move out of town and you can kind of push that stuff to the side and really focus on what you’re trying to do and really try to get better each and every day.”
Allbee’s local ties stretch back all the way to his minor hockey days before moving on to the BC Major Midget League where he played two seasons with the Cariboo Cougars compiling 42 points in 72 regular season games.
The pinnacle of Allbee’s WHL stint came in the 2016 playoffs where the T-Birds made it all the way to the final where they were swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings in four games.
Allbee had another chance at a championship last season but departed the Emerald City in exchange for playing in his hometown.
Unfortunately for him, Seattle upset the Regina Pats in the 2017 WHL Final back in May and advanced to the Memorial Cup in Windsor, denying him the chance of a championship ring at the major-junior level.
Allbee believes his experience of going through the rigors of a long season and playoff run could prove to be crucial come springtime.
“I think it will help a lot based on going the distance and when it’s an RBC year, for some of the young guys it can be a very long season and if you’re not used to that it can catch up to you and can be pretty tough. I think just having the experience of having those long seasons is going to help.”
The 20-year-old enjoyed a brief homecoming two weeks ago when his Chiefs tied and lost to the Prince George Spruce Kings by scores of 5-5 and 8-2 to kick off the BCHL season at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.
Regardless of which jersey Allbee is wearing, the local hockey community will have no problem getting behind one of their own in mid-May.