Yellowknife hockey player drafted to NHL
Steven Hodges chosen in third-round by Florida Panthers
Posted: Jun 28, 2012 9:50 AM CT
Last Updated: Jun 28, 2012 10:50 AM CT
A hockey player who grew up in Yellowknife has been drafted to the National Hockey League.
Steven Hodges, 18, is the Florida Panthers’ third-round pick. He’s travelling to Florida this weekend to train with the team.
Hodges played midget hockey as a youngster in Yellowknife, but he was years younger than his teammates.
“I always remember little Steven Hodges. When we went to a shoot-out, he was the first one I'd grab and throw him on the ice. A lot of pressure for a young fellow, and he usually delivered and sniped a goal for us and we won the game,” said Fraser Oliver, who coached Hodges in junior high school.Fraser Oliver, who used to coach Hodges, said he remembers the hockey player doing well at shoot-outs, even though he was years younger than his teammates. (CBC)
Hodges has lived in B.C. for the past four years. He attended high school and trained year-round. This fall, he plans to play with the Victoria Royals in the Western Hockey League.
Hodges inspiring young Yellowknifers
Young hockey player Kaelen Harper, 9, can be seen practicing his slap shot in his Yellowknife driveway every day after school. He said the draft proves that someone from the N.W.T. capital can be successful in the big leagues.
“It's a pretty good experience because not much people from Yellowknife, from small communities over the world, make it to the NHL,” said Harper.
Every weekend this winter, Harper flew to Edmonton to play with a triple-A atom team.
“It's a bit harder down south because it's all high levels of players and they come from different places,” said Harper.
Wayne Harper, Kaelen’s father, said he wants his son to keep playing if he enjoys it.
“There’s a lot of sacrifice there. The other kids are out playing, biking around while he's doing his homework because he has to stay that step ahead because come weekend, he's gone,” said Wayne.
Kaelen’s parents have been making the trips south and the daily trips to the rink a priority, and it’s allowing Kaelen to dream of becoming an NHL player.
Any decisions about moving south for hockey, like Hodgens did in grade 9, are still several years away.
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