Today’s Poll

NHL Draft: 'Every kids dream to be drafted' says Nelson's Dryden Hunt

Bruce Fuhr
By Bruce Fuhr
June 24th, 2015

There are only a few Connor McDavid’s or Jack Eichel’s to go around for National Hockey League teams at the 2015 entry draft Friday in Sunrise, Florida.

Which is why professional hockey teams pour a ton of money into scouting, to find those sleepers . . . those late round picks that can make the difference.

Nelson’s Dryden Hunt is sure he’s one of those late round gems.

Fact is the Nelson Minor Hockey grad isn’t even sure he’ll be selected in the top rounds during the upcoming draft.

After being passed over during his draft-eligible year in 2014, the 6-foot, 200-pound forward is taking everything in stride.

“Obviously it’s a pretty big deal and every kids dream to be drafted into the NHL, but being 19 (years of age) I feel my chances are a bit slim,” Hunt told The Nelson Daily on the eve of the draft which begins Friday at 4 p.m. PT.

“If I was 17 or 18 (years old) it would be really exciting,” Hunt adds.

“But I’d still love to be picked and go to any team that wanted to take me.”

Despite not getting an invitation at the 2014 NHL party, Hunt never let the setback threaten his career.

Instead, he used the disappointment as motivation, experiencing a very successful offseason and Western Hockey League campaign.

After the draft, the Carolina Hurricanes came calling with a free-agent offer.

The 19-year-old Hunt parlayed a successful camp with the Hurricanes into a spot on club’s Prospect’s Team at a tournament last September in Traverse City, Michigan.

Hunt then returned to Regina Pats of the WHL where the speedy forward put up some great numbers — 14 goals, 37 assists — before being moved to Medicine Hat Tigers in trade deadline deal — and 19 goals and 17 assists.

The son of Carla DeBiasio and Jeff Hunt then helped the Tigers advance past the first round of the Eastern Division playoffs before being knocked out by the Calgary Hitmen.

Hunt scored five goals and added two assists in 10 playoff games.

“It was tough not being selected (in the 2014 NHL draft) but I was able to get some experience with Carolina as a free agent,” explained Hunt, who has spoken to some scouts during the season but nothing really serious.

“That gave me some redemption of not being drafted. And that fueled my season. . .. Plus I had some great linemates in Regina that helped also and I was able to keep that going after I was traded to Medicine Hat.”

Hunt, who some project could be drafted in the fourth round, played minor hockey in Nelson, capturing a Bantam Provincial title before heading to play at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask.

He returned back to the Heritage City in 2010-11 to play in the BC Major Midget Hockey League with the Kootenay Ice before landing a spot in the WHL with Regina after being picked up by the Pats in a trade with Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook.

Hunt, who was counted on to kill penalties this season along with being an obvious regular with the man-advantage, played two plus seasons for the Pats before the recent trade to Medicine Hat.

“I’ve always tried to prove people wrong,” Hunt said when asked about is success.

“My parents always told me to be the hardest working player on the ice and that will get you farther than just talent so I work extra hard all the time.”

Hunt, whose younger brother Sawyer helped Kimberley Dynamiters win the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title in March, has been back in Nelson working with local fitness trainer Cody Abbey to stay in shape.

However, with no ice in Nelson during part of the summer, Hunt is off to Kelowna this weekend to train before heading to Calgary to work with Crash Conditioning, a company designed for elite hockey athletes of all ages based around hard work, devotion, and strong minded athletes.

No doubt with this dedication, and skill, Dryden Hunt will find a place to continue his career at the professional level.

Where, and who for, will definitely be a bonus for the scout going out on the limb with a late round pick.

DRAFT NEWS: The first round of the draft is held Friday (June 26) and broadcast live by NBCSN in the United States and Sportsnet and TVA in Canada, beginning at 4 p.m., PT. Rounds 2-7 will be held on Saturday, June 27, beginning at 10 a.m., ET, with NHL Network providing live coverage to viewers throughout North America. . . . Nelson native Morey Gare will not be at the table of the Edmonton Oilers for this draft. Gare, head pro scout for Edmonton for the past decade and had been with the Oil since 2001, was relieved of his duties along with head amateur scout Stu MacGregor and two other members of the scouting staff — Brad Davis and Kent Hawley — a week before the draft.

Categories: GeneralSports


Other News Stories