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NHL Draft Preview: Hobie Hedquist

Photo credit: Garrett James Photography

For the first time in two years, the NHL Draft will be held in person, this time on July 7 and 8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que. This year, NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings include five players that played in the BCHL last season.

Leading up to the draft, we will speak with the prospects to get their thoughts on the process and a variety of other subjects.

The BCHL’s 2022 NHL Draft coverage is presented by Chevrolet.

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Alberni Valley Bulldogs goaltender Hobie Hedquist turned heads right from the start of his first BCHL season. By his fifth game in the league, the Heron Lake, Minn. native started a shutout streak that would last over three games and threaten the league’s all-time mark of most minutes without allowing a goal.

Hedquist used that hot start to establish himself as one of the top goalies in the league, culminating in a solid playoff performance where he posted a .920 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average in the Bulldogs run to the second round.

He heads into this week’s draft as the league’s only netminder listed by NHL Central Scouting as he checks in at number 27 among North American goalies on the final rankings. We caught up with him to discuss his team’s success last year, his individual accomplishments and his feelings about the draft.

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BCHL: You had a really strong year for the Bulldogs and finished the year as a Second-Team All-Star and a finalist for the league’s Top Goaltender Award. What did you think about your season?

Hedquist: I thought the year was great overall. Our team had a lot of success. As a team and an organization, being able to win a playoff series for the first time in a while and end up first place in the conference was a good step. It let to a lot of individual success, mostly because we had a good team buy-in and belief in each other.

BCHL: You played the most minutes of any goalie in the league last year. Are you someone who thrives under a heavy workload?

Hedquist: Playing that much, you kind of just get into a rhythm, knowing that you’re playing a good amount and you have the belief from your coaching staff and your team. It’s nice overall to have some consistency.

BCHL: This Bulldogs team was the best they’ve had in quite a while. What was it like to be a part of a team that changed the culture in Alberni Valley?

Hedquist: In talking to the community, they all said it’s been a while since they’ve had a team like that. Just seeing how much it meant to everyone, it was really nice. You go into stores and different places and people know who you are. They’re excited to go to games and, once they lifted that 50 per cent COVID restriction, having the building near full most games was definitely something special. I think it’s given the program the direction that it needed.

BCHL: The NHL Draft is coming up later this week and you made it onto NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings. If you were speaking to an NHL general manager who was thinking of selecting you, how would you describe your game and how would it translate to the next level?

Hedquist: My style of game is dependent on my skating. I’m not really a structured type of goalie. I just rely on my skating for the most part and find a way to get hit with pucks.

BCHL: If you were to hear your name called and get selected by an NHL team, what would that mean to you and your family?

Hedquist: It would be a huge honour for sure. As a little kid, it’s something you always wanted to happen. You always wanted to hear your name and walk across the stage. It’s just something you dream of from a very young age. I’d be very honoured and grateful for that opportunity.

BCHL: You are committed to the University of North Dakota, which is one of the top programs in NCAA Division I hockey. How excited are you to get going there when the time comes?

Hedquist: Being American, the thing that you always dream of doing more than anything in the world is playing college hockey. For me, the place that I always wanted to play was North Dakota. Getting to play there would be a dream come true for me and the biggest honour of my life. I’m very excited to have that opportunity.