It’s not every day junior hockey players get time to showcase their skills and speak with National Hockey League (NHL) teams about the possibility of playing for their squad in the future.
But for Red Deer Rebels defenceman Jace Weir, who attended the 2022 NHL Combine last week in Buffalo, N.Y., said the draft is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“To be in a room with an NHL team is pretty crazy and it was a great experience. All in all, it was really good for me. I made a lot of new friends out of it, so it was awesome,” Weir told the Advocate.
Weir said the interview process teams just want to find out what kind of person you are. Personally, he said he enjoyed the interviews but that doesn’t mean there weren’t bizarre questions thrown his way.
“There’s some questions teams throw at you to try and stump you but all in all I thought it was pretty straightforward and honestly just talking hockey,” Weir said.
“Two teams asked me what animal I would be to describe myself and then another team asked me what type of car is going to be my first expensive purchase. Just those types of questions that you know you got to think about.”
The combine began with the interview process the first four days before they got into physical testing on Friday and Saturday. Every interested team got 15 minutes with the player to ask different questions.
“To be honest with you I’d be happy anywhere. Getting drafted to an NHL team has been my goal ever since I was a little kid and for that to come true hopefully one day It’d be a dream come true,” he said.
“It’s super exciting and for me, I don’t have a presonal preference I just want to get drafted into the NHL and whatever team picks me I just want to work as hard as I can and got to camp and prove to them that they didn’t make a mistake drafting me.”
The six-foot-two, 191-pound defenceman scored five goals and added 20 assists for 25 points during the 2021-22 season with the Rebels. His play earned him a spot on the NHL central scouting final rankings at 56th among North American skaters. Weir added he doesn’t put much thought into the rankings.
“I don’t really look at that stuff a lot you know that’s people’s opinion and what not. I’m not going to agree or disagree with anything that’s just the ranking and obviously, I want to be drafted as high as possible and if I’m fortunate enough some team will pick me and It’ll be a great experience and a great opportunity,” he said.
The NHL Draft will begin on July 7 and Weir said it will be an exciting time for him and his family.
“I want hockey to be my job one day and I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that happens and I’m not going to be denied.”