Kimberley native and former Dynamiter Carter Bancks has announced his retirement from professional hockey.
Bancks, 31, has for the past six seasons played with the Utica Comets, the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Vancouver Canucks affiliate team. He served as their captain for the past four seasons.
An important message from our forever Captain, Carter Bancks. pic.twitter.com/kfODsQgA3r
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) January 11, 2021
Before stepping into a professional career, Bancks played four seasons in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, climbing the junior hockey ranks starting with the KIJHL’s Junior B Kimberley Dynamiters. Now that he’s retired, Bancks is back home with his wife Lauren in Marysville.
“It’s been incredible being back home,” Bancks told the Bulletin in an interview on the steps of the Civic Centre, where his career began. “I find sometimes the older you get the more you appreciate where you’re from and that kind of clicked for me when i was about 24, 25 years old.”
His Kootenay hockey roots run deep as his father, Jerry Bancks is Kimberley hockey royalty, serving as assistant coach and then head coach with the Dynamiters in addition to working closely with the Alpine Hockey School in Kimberley.
Kimberley’s Selkirk Sports School presents the Jerry Bancks award each year to an athlete who “works to achieve excellence in their academic and athletic lives while being a positive influence and presence in their community.” The most recipient of the award was Cameron Reid, who moved from the Dyamiters to the Cranbrook Bucks this past year.
His father said he and his mom and sister are extremely proud of Carter, not just for his many successes on the ice, but his continual work off of it.
“We know how hard he worked, he kind of always went against the odds and was able to actually play a few games in the NHL which was his goal,” Jerry said. “I’m pretty proud of him, he took the hard way and was able to make the most of it and did quite well.
“A lot of people don’t understand how tough it is when you’re not making millions of dollars in the NHL. It’s a hard business. But what makes all of us most proud of him is, if you go on the Utica website, is what he is as a man, not so much a hockey player, a captain just about everywhere he was, that’s what we’re most proud of.”
Bancks’ first full season of professional hockey was with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. Two seasons into his time there, Bancks was called up by parent NHL club, the Calgary Flames, and on April 23 he made his NHL debut against the Nashville Predators. Bancks was on the starting lineup that day and played a total of 12:33.
READ MORE: Bancks gets called up to the Flames
READ MORE: Bancks makes NHL pro debut
He got another chance to play with the Flames three days later, logging 16:49 of ice time against the Chicago Blackhawks.
While in Utica, Bancks’ exceptional efforts made with the community earned him recognition as the Utica Comets Man of the Year in the 2015-16 season, which also made him a nominee for the AHL Man of the Year. That year he also received the Tom McVie award as the Most Valuable Player.
READ MORE: Bancks reflects on Flames debut, AHL season
He was again awarded Comets Man of the Year in the 2019-20 season and was also awarded the Thomas M. Lindsey award for exceptional community service.
“That was one of the most exciting things about being in Utica, we got to do all sorts of different work within the community, stuff at homeless shelters, women’s housing, tons of stuff with kids at school,” Bancks said.
“And you got to meet a lot of incredible people and being there for six years you got to build relationships with them as well and obviously I’ve had a great role model in my dad and without my mum and dad and their influence in my life and hockey career, all the support, I would never have accomplished all the things I was able to and it’s always been really important to me to give back to the places that have treated me so well.”
Joining the team in 2014, Bancks set a team record for appearing in 367 games during his six years there.
“It was an incredible experience,” Bancks said. “It was six years that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, I was able to play in a city that was so passionate about hockey, an organization that treated their players so well and honestly all the friendships and memories of playing with your teammates and the laughs and just going to battle every night and counting on each other and just the whole experience was incredible and I feel so thankful to have got to spend six years in Utica and be a leader down there and just nothing but the best things to say about the city, the organization and all the people down there.
In his retirement announcement, Bancks said that the opportunity to play in Utica allowed him to live out his childhood dream and changed his life forever.
“To all my teammates, past and present, thank you for the countless memories,” Bancks wrote. “I won’t forget the games we played, the laughs we shared, and the brotherhood we built.”
Reflecting on his career from the steps of the building which helped create its foundation, Bancks said he would have never made his progression to the Western League had he not had a season with the Dynamiters program as a 16-year-old.
“Growing up in Kimberley, playing this in arena, as I have retired there’s been a lot of reflection time and those years starting in minor hockey were incredible. All the volunteers in town, the whole community, how they supported minor hockey and then moving into the Dynamiters and all the wonderful people who volunteer their time to make sure that this is one of the best places to play in Junior B hockey.
“It was probably the most fun I’ve almost ever had playing the game.”
He added that now that he’s home he’s excited to try and help give back to the game, helping kids move along in their own careers.
Beyond that, Bancks said he does have some plans for what the next chapter of his life will look like, but he’s unable to reveal them just yet.
“I’m just going to be living back home with my wife Lauren who I also need to say a big thank you to, she has been an incredible support,” he said. “There’s been some definitely tough days being apart from each other. But just really excited to start our life back here and move on to the next chapter.”
In the meantime, Bancks has been spending some of his time back home walking his lab at Bootleg, and making the hike up the ski hill to shred Kimberley’s heavy snowfall.