Monday, May 30, 2011

Joel's Journey

Warriors defensemen, Joel Edmundson will be making the trip from his hometown of Brandon, MB to the nations capital for the NHL Combine in May.  Scouts and NHL teams use the combine as a final look at the draft crop for the big day in June when young hockey players are drafted to NHL teams. 

At the beginning of the season some may not have first thought Joel Edmundson would be the next Warrior headed to the combine and NHL draft.  But that is where your first mistake would be—Joel proved that hard work can take you on the path to your dreams.  A word often used synonymously with Joel is “potential”, and potential is exactly what Joel honed through out the season.  Going from the 6th or 7th defensemen to a regular top four guy, Edmundson showed his ability to grow as a player and elevate his game. 

“He continuously gets better and better.  He has begun to come out of his shell and have confidence,” said Warriors Assistant Coach and defensive specialist, Mike Vandenberghe of the future NHL draftee.  “He could become one of the premier shut down defensemen in the WHL—and be a great fit on a pro team in the future,” he added. 

Mike Vandenberghe says there are a number of characteristics Joel possess that make him a solid pick in the upcoming draft.  “Joel has the size, potential and an offensive upside,” remarked Mike.  “He is a good solid, stay at home defensemen with good puck movement,” he added. 

 Joel and the 102 best draft-eligible players from North America and Europe will spend May 30 to June 4 in Toronto, going through a vigorous round of physical, medical and psychological tests that could determine where they are chosen. Sixty one of those players represent players from the CHL. The 61 CHL players represents over 70% of all North American invites, with 28 players from the Ontario Hockey League, 19 from the Western Hockey League, and 14 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Joel has been working hard to prepare for the combine.  “I took two weeks off after the season, after that I have been training for 5 weeks getting ready for it,” said Edmundson.  Joel’s wants his last season performance combined with this preparation to make a big final impression.  “I am going to show them what kind of person I am and what my personality is like,” both qualities scouts are interested in.  “I am also going to show them my physical strength and how much I love hockey,” he added. 

Joel was ranked #33 in the last NHL Central Scouting ranks; making him a potential early second round selection.  The draft goes June 24th and 25th in St. Paul, Minnesota and will be an event Joel has been waiting for his whole life, “I have always wanted to make a living out of hockey and after the draft I’ll be one step closer to that dream—it is just a dream come true to be hopefully be drafted to the NHL,” said Joel. 

Joel is very excited for the month ahead—but as most would be, a little bit apprehensive. “Right now I am just focusing on the combine and I’m really nervous--but once that’s over I’ll be looking forward to heading down to the draft with my family and just enjoying every second,” commented Edmundson.  

With the top spot for the 2011 Entry Draft as wide-open as ever, it could make the NHL Scouting Combine that much more of an exciting event.  Joel Edmundson was named the Warriors most improved player of 2010/11—a great indication of how much the 17 year old can improve in just a single season and what a future NHL team could expect with his progress. 

Joel will be heading into his 18 year old season along side a solid line up of players to learn from.  Edmundson joins NY Ranger draftee, Dylan McIlrath and Thrashers pick Kendall McFaull along with veteran Collin Bowman and a young star in Morgan Rielly.

Just like Travis Hamonic, who wore Joel’s number 3 jersey for three years, Joel has a bright future with the tribe and onto the pro stage.  Visit for details on the both the combine and upcoming draft and watch the Warriors site for the latest on Joel’s journey.     

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