Hazelton’s Joel Patsey made his debut with the Cariboo Cougars last Saturday.
The 15-year-old defenceman is on the Cougars’ starting roster for this season, along with Brendan Moore and Riley Coish from Smithers.
“It’s great. I’m just enjoying my time with the coaches, it’s going to be a great season,” said Patsey.
He was drafted by the Prince George Cougars, going in the eighth round of the WHL bantam draft in May.
“Playing with the major miget team and having one of the Cougars’ scouts, Trevor Sprague, as my head coach, it is going to be great working with him,” said Patsey.
Co-head coach with the Cougars Bryan MacLean said Patsey has the size, he will just need to adjust to the fast pace of league.
“He’s got a lot of size. Those are some things that we certainly see in him,” said MacLean.
“It may start out a bit quick for him, but I think as the season goes on, he’s going to figure out the league pretty quickly and he’ll be a really strong player for us going into the second half.”
Trevor Sprague, the team’s general manager and head coach, added the young defenceman has a strong shot from the blueline.
“I think he’s got NHL shots, he’s just got to use it some more. He can pound that puck toward the net pretty good, he just needs to be confident in using it,” said Sprague, adding he also brings some much-needed grit to the team.
For now, Patsey’s goal is simple.
“I want to work on my strength and conditioning and getting used to the faster paced hockey and slowly working my way up to try out for the Prince George Cougars [in the WHL],” he said