Langley Rivermen defenceman Ryan Helliwell has been receiving buzz around the NHL Draft for most of his BCHL career. Even though the day is almost here, he hasn’t let it distract him from his training and preparation for his third season in the BCHL.
The 18-year-old jumped from zero to seven goals from his rookie season to his second season and he’s looking to take his offensive game to even higher levels in 2020-21.
We talked with Helliwell about the draft, his commitment to the University of Notre Dame and much more.
BCHL: What was your offseason like with the COVID restrictions in place?
Helliwell: It was good. I was mostly training at a gym in North Vancouver. One guy off our team, Kalen Szeto, we were training together for about four months, pretty much every day. I feel like I got a lot better.
BCHL: You’re entering your third season in the BCHL. What expectations do have for yourself personally this year?
Helliwell: I’m just trying to get ready for college. I want to have a good year and hopefully take a leadership role in the room and help guys out who are first years. Last year, after my rookie year, I put a lot of emphasis on shooting during the summer. I think I did that even more this year, so hopefully this year I can double that or even more.
BCHL: You’ve been mentioned as a prospect for this draft for years now. How have you managed to focus on your game and your team with all that noise going on?
Helliwell: It’s not that bad, especially with the guys in the room, my teammates, you don’t really think about it too much. You just kind of play your own game and hopefully it goes well, which it has been. It’s been good.
BCHL: What are your thoughts now that the day is almost here?
Helliwell: It’s been a journey. I was looking forward to it in June, because it is kind of a big weight on the shoulders. It is nice to have it coming up here. I’ll probably just go home with my family and see them on draft day. I’m not supposed to be a highly-touted prospect, but there is still a lot of pressure with it. I think just dealing with it with my family would be a relief.
BCHL: If you were to describe yourself as a player to an NHL team that was interested in selecting you, what would you say?
Helliwell: I put a lot of emphasis on skating. I would probably say I’m a smooth skater and a good puck handler. I’m more of a puck-moving defenceman – an offensive defenceman. I like to join the rush.
You can watch Helliwell and the rest of the Rivermen all year long on HockeyTV. Visit your favourite team’s social media or website for a discount code to get $80 off a yearly subscription.
The BCHL’s 2020 NHL Draft coverage is brought to you by Chevrolet.