The wait was well worth it for Rylan Williams during the 2020 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The Kyle native had to wait until the 11th round of the draft, but was eventually selected by the Lethbridge Hurricanes with the 236th overall pick on Wednesday.
“It was a really good experience. I was really excited when I seen my name pop up on the website. My parents were very excited. As soon as they seen my name pop up we all gave each other a big hug,” said Williams.
Williams was the fifth player from the Southwest to be drafted.
“It was fun waiting for my name to be called. It was a really good experience. I am happy for all the kids that got drafted. Seeing all the kids that I know get drafted was a really good experience. I was motivated to hear my name be called and hearing my name called just makes me want to work harder and I know that all my hard work has paid off.”
Williams helped the Swift Current Pure Chem Broncos to a 21-10-0-0 record to place third in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League’s South Division this season. They advanced past Weyburn in the playoffs and were trailing the Regina Monarchs in the South Division semi-final when the season was cancelled due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
“I thought our season went really well. I was pretty sad that it got cut off due to COVID-19. I think everyone had a real good time. We all played really well together and had fun. It was a really fun year.”
Williams finished tied for 17th in league scoring as he registered 30 goals and 36 assists in 31 games. He increased his production to four goals and four assists in three playoff outings. It was a drastic improvement from his rookie season when he was limited to five goals and six assists in 31 games.
“I see myself as a positive and upbeat player. I’m helpful. I believe I’m a hard-worker. I don’t quit. I have a high hockey IQ. I’m a tenacious fore-checker. I would describe myself as a workhorse,” he explained.
Williams said that a lot of work went into reaching this monumental point in his hockey career.
“I started playing AA hockey in Atom. I moved from Kyle hockey to Swift hockey in my first year of Atom. I’ve played AA hockey from Atom to Bantam and all the work I’ve put in on ice and off ice. I’ve worked with a trainer, I’ve worked with a fitness coach, I’ve worked with skating and skills coaches and I’m so glad that all my hard work has finally paid off.”
He also gave credit to his parents for helping him reach this point.
“My dad and mom have been really pushing me forward and giving me all the motivation in the world. They’ve been keeping me focused on the big goals and it’s finally paid off.”
Williams is still deciding where he will play next season as he enters the Midget ranks.
“I think I can get stronger physically. I can get stronger on my stick, win more one-on-one battles. I’m going to improve these things by working with a trainer at the gym. I’m training on and off the ice in the summer.”