Christmas came early for Swift Current’s Hudson Darby. The surging forward was selected 103rd overall by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft.
“Yeah I was just sitting around at home with some buddies and my family. It was pretty special. We just kept refreshing the page. I had a good gut feeling on that one. It was special to be there with my family and friends,” said Darby.
“I was trying to keep an open mind. I knew Portland was a little interested and I knew they were a good organization, so it was exciting to see them pick me there,” he added.
Getting to this point has required plenty of hard work and dedication.
“Hard work has obviously been a big part. I’ve been really fortunate to have good coaches and good trainers growing up that have helped me through. My family has pushed me and taught me some good lessons to help me get here. I’m very thankful for them and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Darby’s on-ice success shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given his strong hockey bloodlines.
“My dad has two brothers and all three of them were drafted into the WHL, so I knew a lot about that. Then my grandpa played at a pretty high level as a goalie too, so it was special to have them be there with me.”
His dad, Regan, played in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, Red Deer Rebels, and Prince Albert Raiders before a lengthy professional career. His uncle, Garrett, was drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1994 and his uncle, Kurri, was drafted by the Kootenay Ice in 2003. His grandfather on his mother’s side, Roy Schultz, was a goaltender for the Swift Current Broncos in the SJHL and then played at the University of Wisconsin before professional stops in the AHL, IHL, and ACHL.
Darby had 14 points in only five games with the Swift Current U15 AA Broncos last season before the pandemic cut the season short. He had 16 points in his first 23 games with the Swift Current U18 AAA Legionnaires this season. “It’s been pretty good. I’ve had a pretty good start to the season. Just need to keep playing and help out the team.”
The Legionnaires are currently in eighth spot in the Saskatchewan U18 AAA Hockey League.
“Yeah the season’s been pretty good. We have a pretty good team. All the guys they all helped me get here. We have a good team and everyone helped out to get me here and we build off each other. The work is just starting from here now.”
It will only be eight months until Darby can be in camp to compete for a roster spot in the Western Hockey League.
“Probably just getting a little bit bigger and stronger, get a bit quicker with my first two steps. Just get quicker and more powerful and just pushing off and getting a bit more gritty,” he said of his areas of improvement needed between now and then.