Australians living the Canadian winter and loving it

February 6, 2015

O'Leary, PE



Published on February 05, 2015

O’Leary recreation director, Jeff Ellsworth catches as fellow world-class ball player, Nick Shailes from Australia attempts to bat a snowball.

O’LEARY -- It’s just a short side road, less than four kilometers long, but for Nick and Gen Shailes, the Gard Road has become a highlight of their vacation on P.E.I.


It was there that the Australians experienced what it’s like to get stuck in a snowdrift.

Their host and Nick’s Hill United Chiefs’ teammate, Jeff Ellsworth, was at the wheel. They had been following a track left by another vehicle until that vehicle turned off.

Then they drove right into a drift, snow flying up over the windshield.

“That was fun,” Shailes acknowledged. He videotaped the whole thing, including finally getting towed out about two hours later.

The couple is amazed with how Islanders cope with all the snow and the frigid temperatures. “We’re living it. It’s still a novelty for us. It’s fun,” said Nick.

Gen admitted it has been quite the adjustment going from plus 42 degrees Celsius last week to a minus 36-degree windchill this week.

With Hill United, Nick Shailes and Jeff Ellsworth won a world championship last summer and an international tournament in Florida last month. The pair are sharing guest speaker roles at the Up West Winterfest’s athletic banquet Friday night.

The Shailes have also experienced sledding, a bonfire in the woods, ice-skating and other fun elements of a Canadian winter.

“A lot of people back home can’t fathom this sort of weather,” said Nick. He noted that only the top of the fence was evident in a mass of white where O’Leary’s main ballfield should be.

“ Someone said to me on Facebook the other day ‘how are you guys alive in that sort of weather?’” Gen remarked.

“I’m sure it’s a lot different in the summer (but) everything we’ve seen in P.E.I., we love it, and the hospitality has been amazing,” Nick added.

The couple stopped off in P.E.I. en route to Brantford where they plan to take up temporary residence for the next couple of years.

Nick and Jeff agreed one of the things that makes their club team so successful is the players all get along really well. “The crazy thing, you see it out in the stands and the women get along just as well,” Nick added. The teammates agreed supportive spouses make their ball-playing experience all the more enjoyable.

The Ellsworths and Shailes will be meeting up again in April. A ball team in Ohio learned Nick was visiting with Jeff and invited them to a weekend tournament in Las Vegas. Their wives are going too.