Fate Took Antons to Kamloops, then UBC
Brian Swane, Special to Canada West
We all experience them.
We don’t often know where they’re coming, we many not even
realize when they’re happening.
But sooner or later, time reveals those moments that are lifealtering.
From skating on rinks in small-town German not knowing where
hockey could or would take him, to becoming one of his country’s
leading physician in the sport, Nils Antons is a testament to
fate. There’s no better word to describe what led Antons to the
Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League and eventually
the University of British Columbia.
“A lot of German kids grow up with the dream of one day playing
in Canada,” says Antons, 38.
“The opportunity the Kamloops Blazers gave me, was a once in a
26 CANADA WEST YEARBOOK
For every season in the WHL, a player is entitled to a minimum
of tuition, books and compulsory fees at any post-secondary
institution. After his time with the Blazers, Antons attended
UBC, where he studied microbiology while playing Canada West
hockey with the T-Birds.
“There are so many great memories of going to school and
playing at UBC,” Antons says.
“Having earned a degree in university made it easy for me to
negotiate contracts while playing professional hockey. I always
knew that I had something to fall back on.”
Antons spent four seasons in Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany’s
top pro league, before starting his second career as a trained
microbiologist and physician. He regularly works as team doctor
for the German Ice Hockey Federation.
“My general duties are to take care of the players,” Antons
explains. “If somebody gets hurt, I have to examine the player
and decide what further examinations must be done and
eventually what treatment should be initiated.