This might be the first time all season Attilio Biasca feels settled.
The Swiss winger's rookie year in the QMJHL has been a series of disruptions and false starts but he is finally hitting his stride with the Halifax Mooseheads.
"It was a dream for me from when I was a little kid to come here so I was always waiting in the summer to come here but I wasn't able to because of COVID," Biasca said. "Then after the world juniors it was great to come here and I'm really happy about it. Everyone has helped me since I got here. My billets are great and everybody's nice so it was very easy to settle in here."
Biasca wasn't allowed to enter Canada until December when he got special clearance to play at the world juniors in Alberta. Once the tournament ended, he flew to Nova Scotia and went through the mandatory two-week quarantine in a local hotel where he tried to get some form of exercise but couldn't maintain his game shape.
By the time he got out of isolation, he could practise but had to wait a few more weeks until the league reopened for play. He didn't even play his first game for the Mooseheads until Jan. 30, then hurt himself four weeks later. That derailed him for another month and he's now six games into his return.
"I love it here," he said. "The guys are super and everything's great here with the organization. It was tough for me because of the injury and my shape; I lost almost everything when I was hurt. But now I'm back to 100 per cent and I have to bounce back and show everyone here what I can do in hockey."
All the stops and starts have made it difficult to adjust to North American hockey. The ice surface is much smaller than what he's used to back home in Europe so that was another challenge.
"It's for sure a new game and it's different," he said. "There's more physicality and everything's quicker because of the small ice. But I think it's getting better every game for me so that's the most important thing."
Biasca had his first two-point game in the Q on Wednesday against the Charlottetown Islanders and also scored his first goal against the Cape Breton Eagles last week. It was his 15th game in the league so he celebrated by pretending to grab a monkey off his back and throw it away.
"Whenever a rookie scores his first goal, the bench just comes alive," said Mooseheads defeneman Lucas Robinson. "It was so good to see Attilio get that first goal. He's wanted that for a while and it really gets the boys going."
Biasca now has seven points in 17 total games for Halifax but it's more the eye test that suggests he has turned the corner. He looks much more comfortable with the puck and is making plays more confidently and consistently.
"I feel good," said Biasca, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 CHL import draft. "I love the hockey here. It's for sure different for me and it's tougher too so I have had to change my game and I think I've been getting a better all the time. But that's good for my career and I'm really happy to be here."
The Mooseheads play the Islanders at home on Friday. It will be third meeting in a row between the teams. They also play each other in Charlottetown on Tuesday and then again in Halifax on April 17.