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Max Paddock hopeful ahead of 2018 NHL Entry Draft

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It’s a moment every hockey player dreams of… hearing their name called in the NHL Entry Draft.

Pats goaltender Max Paddock has that chance this weekend in Dallas, Texas. The product of Brandon, Manitoba is ranked 22nd in North America among all goalies in the final rankings by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.

“I am excited obviously, little bit of everything honestly,” said Paddock. I’m a little bit hopeful because nothings set in stone but I am just looking forward to what happens.”

Paddock, who turned 18 on June 15, enjoyed a standout rookie season with the Pats in 2017-18. He went 19-7-1-1 with the league’s third best goals against average at 2.90 and a save percentage of .904, taking over the starting role in the second half of the year. The former 10th round bantam pick of the Pats was unable to play in the clubs playoff series against Swift Current but returned from injury for the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup. The 18-year-old led Regina to the championship final, going three and one with a .908 save percentage. He made 44 saves in a 4-2 semi-final win over Hamilton and gave the Pats a chance in the final with 41 saves on 43 shots.

“Growing up as a kid it’s your dream to hear your name called and go on to have a successful career,” added Paddock. “The past couple years I hoped for it but it wasn’t in the foresight I guess you could call it. But you know after this year it’s really came to my vision I guess that it is a possibility and it could happen, you just never know… I was in a backup role and didn’t get many looks but once opportunity came and I got to play against some really, really good teams I just went out there and played. I put everything aside once I went onto the ice, I didn’t worry about what was going on too much and I think that helped me out. I got used to the speed of playing against those top teams and I just kept on building off each game. You know confidence and just getting used to playing in the spotlight as a starter if you will.”

Max was among a number of players invited to Toronto by the Maple Leafs for a pre-draft workout earlier this off-season. He spent a couple days meeting with team staff and took part in two on-ice sessions. “It’s a big confidence booster, said Paddock. “You go there and go see their facilities and get to wear their practice jersey. You know it feels good, talking to their scouts and stuff like that, it’s very surreal and I’m just trying to enjoy it.”

Paddock comes from a family of athletes, his dad Russ won four CIAU medals in volleyball in four years with the Manitoba Bisons before joining the National Team program in 1989. While with Team Canada he competed in the 1990 and 1994 World Championships, 1991 and 1992 World League and the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Russ also played four season of professional volleyball in Belgium and Germany. Russ was inducted into the Manitoba Honour Society and Hall of Fame in 2007. Paddock’s uncle John played 11 seasons of pro hockey including almost 100 games in the NHL and Max knows it will mean a lot for everyone to see his name called this weekend. “It would mean a lot for me. All the work I have put in over this past year and all the money my parents have spent taking me to camps and playing on teams, it will mean a lot. It will almost mean more for them than it does for me. With that being said, if I get drafted I don’t make the team right there. I still have a ton of work to do, go back to Regina next year and hopefully have a solid season again and keep on building and getting stronger. I’ve just got to keep working hard and see where it takes me.”

The 2018 NHL Entry Draft begins Friday with round one starting at 5:30 Regina time. Rounds two through seven will take place Saturday starting at 9 a.m. in Dallas, Texas.

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