North Delta’s Ethan Samson is that much closer to playing in the NHL after signing a standard player agreement with the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars.
The 15-year-old is the fourth player to sign on from the Cougar’s 2018 bantam draft class. According to a press release, Samson was the highest scoring defenceman in the Delta Hockey Academy’s Elite 15 program, tallying seven goals and 17 assists for a total of 24 points in 33 regular season games. During the Canadian Sport School Hockey League play-offs, Samson scored two goals and had two assists, helping his team make it to the semifinals.
Samson started skating when he was three years old and has been playing hockey since he was five. He said being drafted was something he was looking forward to for a long time.
“Hockey is my passion, it’s what I want to do for my living,” Ethan said. “My parents were a big part of it. If I didn’t have my parents to support me and help me and pay for some of the stuff, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Shawn Samson, Ethan’s father, said just getting drafted by the Cougars was exciting, so having the agreement in place means that much more.
“For him, this has been his dream since he was watching the [Vancouver] Giants when he was a little kid,” the elder Samson said.
The agreement means Samson is committed to playing for the Cougars, but that doesn’t guarantee the young defenceman will be joining the team this fall. First he’ll spend the next few months training both on and off the ice before heading to Prince George for the Cougars’ training camp in August, where he’ll be up against up to 50 other players hungry for a spot on the regular season roster.
“It’s still a long shot to make it as the WHL is all 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds, but as a 16-year-old he can make the team come next season,” Shawn Samson said.