Brady Griffin-Hefford is seen during a Western Kings practice at the Pepsi Centre in this 2013 photo. — Star file photo
Brady Griffin-Hefford believes he’s been afforded a great opportunity some young hockey players only dream of having so he’s excited to be an Islander.
The Corner Brook native, a forward with the Colemans Western Kings of the provincial major midget hockey league, was selected by the Charlottetown Islanders with the 223rd pick at the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft held recently in Sherbrooke, Que.
“Getting drafted was a great feeling,” Griffin-Hefford said earlier this week. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be drafted, but Charlottetown told me they were interested so I just had that hope. It’s an opportunity not a lot of people get, but I’m sure many deserve so I’m just glad I got the opportunity.”
The six-foot-three son of Corner Brook’s Derek Hefford and Patti Griffin was watching television at home when he got a call from the Islanders telling him he was adrafted. He admits he didn’t care what team took a chance of selecting him, but sees the benefits of hopefully playing on the island some day.
“It doesn’t matter, but it’s nice that it’s close to home — not too far away and Charlottetown is a really nice place,” he said.
At 16 years old and one more year of major midget hockey eligibility at his disposal, the big forward had 22 points in 24 games for the Kings before collecting six goals and one assist in eight playoff games. These are pretty decent numbers for a player who is also strong on the puck on the defensive side of things, but he doesn’t think there’ s no room for improvement knowing the Q is a haven for skilled players who are bigger and stronger than he is.
“I think I’m going to need to work on my skating a bit more even though I feel it’s improved a lot,” he said.
“As well, I got to be able to toss my body around, block shots when I need to and just be the guy to go to when they’re in certain situations.”
He was given pretty normal instructions from the head coach about how he should spend the next couple of months before heading to camp.
“They told me to make sure I was in shape and ready for camp,” he said.
He’s excited about going to the Islanders training camp with Kings teammate Luke House — a southpaw puckstopper that the Islanders selected in the third round with the 55th pick — also hoping to impress the right people at camp.
He plans on working hard over the next few months to ensure he’s ready for what’s thrown his way. He’s going to give it his best shot and let others worry about the jersey he’ll be wearing in October.