Kai Kantola started playing hockey for the East Coast Eagles (Midget U-17).
2003-04: After a successful run with the Eagles, Kantola, who is of Finnish decent, was invited to play in Finland for a U-16 tournament. After playing well in the tournament, he was asked to stay in Finland and play for a Finnish club. Kantola spent a year living with his cousin playing for the Lahti Pelicans. In 30 games Kantola notched 14 points (five goals, nine assists) and 26 PIM.
2004-05: Kantola returned to the USA from Finland and started playing for the Fargo-Moorehead Jets of the NAHL. In 37 games, Kantola recorded 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and 20 PIM. He played in five playoff games, recording no points and four PIM.
2005-06: Kantola was named to Team USA’s roster for the Viking Cup. He played a big part in Team USA winning the bronze medal by scoring five points (two goals, three assists). After the Viking Cup, Kantola played a strong season for the Jets. He finished with the second most goals on the Jets with 24 and the third most points with 52 (24 goals, 28 assists). He also played well in the playoffs, finishing in the top 10 in the entire NAHL in points with seven, goals with three, and assists with 4. He managed to do all this in just eight games. The only player to tally more points in as many or fewer games was his teammate Phil Fox with nine points.