Hazelton's Joel Patsey is gearing up for the bantam draft and a chance at Team BC.

Hazelton's Joel Patsey is gearing up for the bantam draft and a chance at Team BC.

Patsey set for draft, Team BC

Hazelton's Joel Patsey recently tried out for Team BC in Salmon Arm.

Get used to hearing the name Joel Patsey.

The Hazelton born and raised defenceman, who played for the Bantam Storm last year, is close to qualifying for the provincial team that will represent B.C. at the Canada Winter Games next year in Prince George.

Two weeks ago Patsey travelled to Salmon Arm to compete against 150 other hopefuls at a weekend tournament.

The coaches liked what they saw, but Patsey won’t find out until next week if he’s off to the final round of cuts, which will be held in Nanaimo later this spring.

“If I made it, it would probably be the best thing ever,” Patsey said. “Getting to play so close to home and representing B.C. would be an amazing experience.”

The 46 players who make it to Nanaimo will then be cut down to a final roster of 20.

His rep team head coach, Don Pederson, thinks he’s got a shot.

“He’s a big, strong kid and he has the skills to get to where he wants to go, but it’s up to him to see how far he wants to take it,” Pederson said.

If things don’t work out with the provincial team, Patsey still has a lot to look forward to this summer.

He’s eligible for the WHL’s bantam draft, which takes place on May 1 and has already been contacted by the Portland Winterhawks and the Kootenay Ice about the prospects of playing for them.

Next year, he’ll likely head to Prince George for some seasoning in major or tier one midget.

Patsey is attending the Cariboo Cougars training camp in August.

Though his Smithers rep career is likely finished, he enjoyed his time with the team.

“It was a really good experience. We worked hard as a team and really pulled together in the end.”

Patsey will spend the summer working on his strength and conditioning in preparation for the coming season.

“My dad is looking for a trainer right now. I know that I need to work on my foot speed and a few other things,” Patsey said. “I have to get bigger and stronger too.”

Patsey grew up playing on his backyard rink that his grandfather used to make every winter. He credits his family, his coaches and especially his dad for helping him get this far.

“I think the most important lesson my dad taught me is to keep going hard, so I don’t regret anything when I’m older.”