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‘It was emotional’: Daylan Kuefler’s NHL dream comes true

Signed by the New York Islanders
Kamloops Blazers Daylan Kuefler heads up-ice during a home game in Kamloops. (Photo by Allen Douglas/ Kamloops Blazers)

Stettler’s Daylan Kuefler got the call that every young hockey player dreams of.

The New York Islanders, who drafted the 21-year-old in the sixth round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, signed Kuefler to a three-year entry-level contract.

And when his agent called him with the good news a whirlwind of emotions went through his mind.

While in downtown Kamloops with his girlfriend he didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or jump up and down.

His childhood dream had just become reality.

“I was pretty excited and it was really emotional… It was pretty crazy,” he said.

Following the conclusion of the Kamloops Blazers season he’ll spend his summer back home before heading to New York for training camp in August.

“All the work is starting now so I’m really excited,” he said.

“You show up and do everything you can to make the top team. If you don’t you just move on and do your best every day. It’s still a tryout at the end of the day. You’re just trying to prove why you should be there.”

Kuefler has played the last four years in the WHL for the Blazers notching 77 goals and 67 assists for 144 points in 184 games. In the playoffs, he’s added 24 total points. During this season he set a career high 61 points as an assistant captain.

“The Blazers have been incredible to me. Our staff, teammates, and the whole organization they’re what I think are the best in the league. I’ve got nothing but thanks to say to everybody who’s been a part of it,” Kuefler said.

Before he was in the WHL he played two seasons for the U18 AAA Red Deer Chiefs contributing 67 points.

The Blazers lost out in the Western Conference Finals to the Seattle Thunderbirds but despite the loss their season is far from over.

Beginning Friday, May 26 the Blazers will host and compete in the 2023 Memorial Cup.

“We can’t look too far ahead. We’ve still got an exciting week coming up but yeah it’s exciting to have an opportunity at the next level,” he said.

“We’re really hungry here and obviously rested. We’ve had a good couple of weeks getting prepared doing everything we can before puck drop on Friday.

“We want to take it day by day. Every day you wake up it’s a new day, a new chance to get your legs moving and have a good practice… And then I think just enjoying it. The whole city is going to be buzzing and the energy around Kamloops is going to be super exciting you can already feel it.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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