An elite hockey player from Airdrie experienced a dream-come-true moment earlier this week, when he heard his name called in the NHL Super Draft.
Josh Davies, an Airdrie native and a current member of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League, was selected in the sixth round as the 186th pick by the Florida Panthers on July 7.
"Like everyone says, it was a bit surreal," the 18-year-old forward said. "It doesn't really sink in until a couple days after. For myself, it's been a long-term goal of mine. Now that it's here, it's unbelievable for myself and my family. I'm just glad to be a Florida Panther, and I look forward to the future and the hard work to come."
Davies called the Panthers a "first-class organization" and said he was aware the team was keeping tabs on him in the lead-up to the draft.
"I actually went down there two weeks ago for a private combine with some interviews and fitness testing," he said. "They were one of the top teams on the list for myself and I'm just glad to go to such a great organization."
Prior to joining the Broncos, the 18-year-old played for the Edge School for Athletes in Springbank and the Pacific Coast Academy in B.C. Before that, he suited up for the Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA team during their championship-winning season in 2017-18.
During the pandemic-impacted 2020-21 season, he played five games for the Airdrie CFR Chemicals Bisons U18 AAA team, scoring six goals and collecting one assist before making the move up to the junior (U21) age group, with the Swift Current Broncos.
In addition to his WHL career, Davies made his national-program debut in April, representing Canada's U18 squad in three games at the IIHF U18 World Championships in Germany.
Davies said he was flying out to Florida on July 9 for a development camp with the Panthers and will return to Airdrie this Friday.
He said he's still planning to play for the Broncos in the WHL for the next one or two seasons, with plans to make the jump up to the pros in his 20-year-old season.