A local hockey player has stars in his eyes after being selected this past weekend in the NHL Draft.
Dylan Ferguson of Lantzville was chosen in the seventh round Saturday, 194th overall by the Dallas Stars. The Kamloops Blazers goaltender said he had some idea going into the weekend that he might be drafted.
“I didn’t really know where, I kind of prepared for the worst and the best,” he said. “I was excited, for sure … and I’m happy it all worked out.”
He was watching the proceedings on TV with his dad Saturday when he got a call from the Detroit Red Wings organization while the draft was still going on, inviting Ferguson to their camp.
“So I didn’t think I was going to go in the draft, started to get upset, kind of left the house and then as soon as I closed the door, I heard my dad kind of scream and I went back in…” Ferguson said. “I was really excited and really happy.”
He said there was a bit of a connection with the Dallas organization, as the Stars and Blazers are both owned by Tom Gaglardi, and Ferguson had worked out with the Stars’ goalie coach at the start of this past season.
“They knew me, I knew them, but they didn’t talk to me before the draft or anything,” Ferguson said. “I’m really happy where I went and it’s a great place, so I’m excited.”
Ferguson played with the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association until his first year of bantam, when he moved away to join the Notre Dame program. He made the Blazers in 2015-16 and said he went through some adversity in his first major junior season as he didn’t get a lot of game action. This past year, he got his chance as crease-mate Connor Ingram made Canada’s world junior team and Ferguson held the fort.
“I just kind of beared down and said, ‘you know what? I’ve been preparing for this for over a year and a half,’ so I took advantage of that opportunity,” he said.
His numbers showed that, as he sported a 16-10-2 record with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 2016-17. He’s improved his speed and quickness and at the same time learned to calm down and let the game come to him.
Ferguson has never been to Texas, but will head there July 6 for a camp; he’s looking forward to it and plans to prepare to be at his best there. Next season he anticipates becoming the Blazers’ No. 1 goalie as Ingram, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, will likely move on.
“He deserves to play pro next year. I’m wishing him the best there,” Ferguson said. “I’m ready to start and my coaches have faith in me, so I’m excited for next season.”
While he’s ecstatic about being an NHL draft pick, Ferguson said that status only means so much and in a way, it’s just a starting point.
“It’s a new step, but I can’t look too far forward,” he said. “I’ve got that opportunity coming up, so I’m going to give that all I’ve got.”