Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
The 2023 NHL Draft is set to take place on June 28 and 29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings include five players that played in the BCHL last year and another two who are BCHL alumni in college hockey.
Leading up to the draft, we will share interviews with the prospects about the draft process and a variety of other subjects.
The BCHL’s 2023 NHL Draft coverage is presented by Chevrolet.
Victoria Grizzlies defenceman Hoyt Stanley had a tough 2021-22 season. In what was supposed to be his rookie year in junior hockey, an injury limited him to just 13 regular season games and five postseason contests. After finally getting healthy, he came back stronger than ever in 2022-23 and finished as the BCHL’s eighth highest scoring blueliner with 38 points in 53 contests.
His resurgence could not have been timed any better as it coincided with his draft year and led to him being the highest ranked BCHL defenceman by NHL Central Scouting.
We spoke with Stanley about overcoming adversity, the draft process and his commitment to Cornell University.
BCHL: You went through a tough first year in the BCHL after getting injured and being limited to just a handful of games in 2021-22. How did you deal with that?
Stanley: It was definitely hard. It was a fluke injury that had me back at home for four months or so. I missed a lot of game time, but I think at the end of the day, dealing with that adversity made me a stronger player. Those 13 regular season games [at the end of the season] and playoffs gave me a lot of confidence coming into this year and helped me a lot.
BCHL: What was your mindset coming into this year?
Stanley: The first goal was to play a full season without injury and get noticed by some schools. The draft wasn’t really on my mind at all at the start of the year. But, getting put on the first Players to Watch ranking and some other scouting lists kept it in the back of my mind, but I tried not to focus on it too much.
BCHL: The Grizzlies have had a lot of success at the NHL Draft in recent years. Why do you think that is?
Stanley: The Grizzlies are a great organization that a lot of high-end players want to go play for. It’s a great junior city to live in. We have great billet families and a good culture that creates a lot of competitiveness in practice for guys to get better.
BCHL: How would you describe your game and how would it translate to the pro level?
Stanley: I think I’m a two-way defenceman who is fast and has a high hockey IQ. I can contribute in all situations. At the pro level, I think I could play an all-around game.
BCHL: What would it mean to you to get drafted?
Stanley: It would mean a lot. I’ve played hockey since I was four years old. It’s been a dream of mine and my parents ever since then. That’s kind of been the ultimate goal. They’ve made a ton of sacrifices for me in my life. I owe a lot to them. They would be proud. It would be a great experience.
BCHL: You committed to Cornell University last season and will be heading there in the fall. Why was that the best fit for you?
Stanley: Cornell is a great fit for me because it’s a great hockey program that develops players really well and they’re competitive every year. They’re also a really good school – an Ivy League education. My family and I value education as well. It’s a great combination of academics and athletics.