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Rebels Ollie Josephson reflects on NHL Draft experience

Red Deer Rebels forward Ollie Josephson fires a shot on the net against the Calgary Hitmen in WHL action at the Peavey Mart Centrium. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

It's been a crazy but memorable few weeks for Red Deer Rebels forward Ollie Josephson.

The 17-year-old from Victoria, B.C. was drafted 105th overall in the fourth round by the Seattle Kraken at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft in Las Vegas at the end of June.

Shortly after, he headed to Seattle last week to join the rest of the Kraken prospects for development camp.

The experience provided him with his first taste of what professional hockey could be like. While they did plenty of on-ice workouts they also went to a Seattle Mariners game and explored the city.

"It's been awesome so far. The development camp was pretty unreal. There were some awesome players and great facilities there. They treat you like professionals," he said.

"I've only been a part of the organization for a week now but it's been great. I've loved it."

Although Josephson wasn't at the draft on June 29th when he was selected, he celebrated the occasion with friends and family back in Victoria.

He hoped to get picked by Seattle because of its proximity to his hometown but didn't know what to expect heading into the draft. He even talked to them at the NHL Draft Combine that was held a few weeks before the draft.

"I've only heard good things about the organization and I was really happy with the pick they made," he said.

"There were some studs [at development camp]. They also had some of the nicest facilities I've ever seen and private chefs. They just treat you like pros so it was an unreal week. It was good to meet all the guys who've been drafted there over the last few years."

He also got to witness Rebels teammate Chase Wutzke get selected 142nd overall in the fifth round by the Minnesota Wild. The goaltending prospect played 36 games with the Rebels last year where he recorded a 2.82 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage.

"That was awesome," Josephson said. "He's a super hard worker and a great guy. I was really happy when I saw him get picked by Minnesota."

Last season with the Rebels Josephson had a career-high 47 points in 68 games, which was second on the team. He also added five points in nine playoff games.

Earlier on in the offseason, he represented Canada at the U18 World Hockey Championship where he had three points in seven games and helped Canada win the gold medal.

For the rest of the summer, he'll continue his workouts and skating sessions before heading to Kraken training camp at the end of August. The Rebels recommended he work on his shot over the summer and has already seen an improvement.

Although there's a possibility that he could sign and play for the Kraken this upcoming season it's more likely he'll return to Red Deer for his third season in the WHL.

"I'm really excited. Now that I've played two years in the league I'm looking forward to my third one. Just getting closer to the guys but also competing. I think we'll have a good team so we hope to make another playoff run."

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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