EDMONTON -- A lifetime of hard work, through good times and tough times, prepared Stuart Skinner for the moment. But that doesn't mean he wasn't surprised.
The 18-year-old Lethbridge Hurricanes goaltender was selected in the third round of the NHL Entry Draft by his hometown Edmonton Oilers Saturday, June 24. Skinner, watching the draft with his family, had taken note of the Oilers trading for the 78th overall pick.
"Nothing too much was going through my mind other than just interest in seeing what they were going to do," Skinner told Lethbridge News Now. "Then I heard them say, 'From the Lethbridge Hurricanes...' and I got butterflies in my stomach and I got a big adrenaline rush, and they said 'Stuart Skinner' and I just looked at my family and, 'this really happened!'
"It was pretty cool, it was pretty surreal, and it was just an incredible moment for me and my family."
Family is important to Skinner, the youngest of nine children, who says he wouldn't have been able to play hockey without their support.
“I heard them say, ‘From the Lethbridge Hurricanes…’ and I got butterflies in my stomach and I got a big adrenaline rush…”
- Stuart Skinner
Skinner called the Oilers a great organization with great fans, adding he already knows Edmonton's a great place to live. He's already been to meet the Oilers' organization, and will be taking to the ice of Rogers Place to train with the team before returning to the Hurricanes.
"Goalies tend to take a little longer, just mentally and physically as well just to mature up to the NHL level; it's tough for a goaltender," Skinner explained. "It's tough for anybody to just start right out of 18 (years old) so I'm just going to see what the Edmonton Oilers want me to do and obviously I'm going to be working my hardest and hopefully end up playing for the Edmonton Oilers."
But in the meantime he's looking forward to suiting up again for the Hurricanes and seeing his teammates and coaches again.
"Fans in Lethbridge are the best fans in the WHL, and it's always nice to see an incredible organization and just to play for Lethbridge... they brought me up into the goalie I am today."
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