by Malcolm McCutcheon
Growing up playing minor hockey in Nelson, Dryden Hunt always dreamed of playing in the NHL, and with his recent jump forward on the Central Scouting Service’s final rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft in June the 18-year-old’s dream may soon become a reality.
“I am very excited about the draft. Obviously I am nervous. It’s in other people’s hands so you don’t really know what is going to happen, but just to be ranked and in the talk is pretty cool,” said Hunt.
After turning heads with his explosive play in the latter half of the season Hunt is going into the draft ranked in 144th position among North American Skaters.
“Not being ranked all year and then on the final ranking being ranked 144th is pretty cool. It’s all right being on there with some of those names, it’s obviously exciting to be on that list.”
Playing for the WHL Regina Pats for the past three seasons Hunt has had a solid support base from his teammates while in pursuit of his NHL dreams.
“Playing for the Pats has been great. I have had great coaches the last three years. I just have so much support from the ownership, general managers, my coaches and teammates to stick with it and stay in Regina. It has been a great three years,” he said.
With the 2013-14 season completed, Hunt finished with an impressive total of 40 points notching 21 goals and lending 19 assists in 62 games played.
“I started off pretty slow this season. I don’t think I scored my first goal until 15 games in, but I started playing with some great players, who will go far in their careers, and I picked it up as the season went on playing well in playoffs, so it was a good year.”
Hunt began his hockey career in Nelson playing minor hockey until his second year of Bantam when he made a big move to the Notre Dame Hockey College in Saskatchewan. He then later returned to the Kootenays during his major-midget years.
“Nelson minor hockey is a great association with so many great people that are apart of it. Without all of the volunteers and coaches it wouldn’t be anything. All of my past coaches helped me get to where I am today and I owe it all to them,” said Hunt.
At the age of 15 Hunt played his first game in the WHL and sharing the ice with 21-year-olds was big change for the young athlete.
“You grow up very quickly. It was a huge stepping stone from major-midget to the Western Hockey League but it turned out to be a good one,” said Hunt.
Due to a late November birthday this will be the first NHL draft Hunt is eligible to be selected in, and while the Nelson native will not be attending the draft in person due to summer training in Calgary he will be turning on a television to see if he is one step closer to realizing his NHL dreams.
“It would be a huge honour to be drafted in the NHL, it’s just one step closer, it is something that I have dreamt of for a long time,” said Hunt.
The 2014 NHL Entry Draft takes place on June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia. The event is televised so fans can keep a close watch as Hunt tries to represent Nelson on the NHL stage.