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.
Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Owen Beckner made huge strides in his second BCHL season. After putting up 10 points in 42 games as a 16-year-old rookie, the Victoria, B.C. native exploded for 50 points in 53 games last year and placed himself firmly on the radar of the 2023 draft.
Combine that with a solid team and individual performance in the postseason, helping his team to the Interior Conference Finals, Beckner is poised to reach an even higher level when he returns to Salmon Arm next year.
We spoke with him before the draft about how he improved as a player, what it would mean to get drafted and his eventual next stop to play NCAA hockey at Colorado College.
BCHL: Your production improved drastically from your first to second seasons in the BCHL. What do attribute to your jump in production?
Beckner: It was all the work I put in off the ice in the summer. I had a tough year my first year. I was still a bit smaller. In the offseason, I trained really hard and got stronger. I was on the ice a ton, working on my skating, my shot and my hands. I was able to come out this year and have a good year. It’s nice to see all of my hard work pay off.
BCHL: There was some extra pressure with it being your draft year. How did you handle that?
Beckner: To be honest, I didn’t really feel too much pressure. With the draft, it’s something you keep in the back of your mind, but you don’t want to think about it too much because you don’t want it to affect your game.
BCHL: How would you describe yourself as a player and how do you think your game can translate to the pro level?
Beckner: I have a hockey brain. I can think at a quick pace. I’m a skilled player that can make plays in tight places and see things before they happen. I’m also a bigger guy who can skate well. That translates to the next level because you have to be able to think at a quick pace with the increase of speed.
BCHL: What would it mean to you and your family to get drafted?
Beckner: It would mean the world to me. I’ve been playing hockey my whole life. It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NHL since I was three or four years old. Even having my name in the mix is pretty surreal and something I’m really grateful for. It’s nice to see the work pay off and to have it happen would mean a lot to my family and myself. They’re the ones who have made all of the sacrifices for me and helped me get to this point, so if it does happen, I want to share it with them.
BCHL: With you returning to Salmon Arm next year, what do you plan on working on so you come back even better than last year?
Beckner: I’m planning on getting right back into the gym and right back on the ice. I want to improve my power, my stride and my overall skating ability. I want to become bigger, stronger and faster. With my big jump from my rookie season to last year, I want an even bigger jump next year. I’m going to put in all the work again and keep grinding and trying to reach my full potential.