When Jaydon Dureau got the call he had been dreaming of, he was on the golf course.
The White City product was taken in the 5th round of the NHL draft on Wednesday by the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. He says it is a moment he won’t forget.
“I was with a few of my buddies when my Mom and my Dad facetimed me as I was about to take my next shot.” Dureau said. “Both were screaming to the point where I couldn’t understand them. As soon as I hung up the phone, my agent phoned me so I knew. While that was going on, my friends were checking their phone and then they rushed me so it was pretty cool.”
The 19-year-old was passed over in his draft year after scoring just 12 goals and 29 points in 67 games for the Portland Winterhawks in the 2018-19 season, but in 2019-20, he helped the Winterhawks to the best record in the league when the season was halted due to COVID-19 as he had 70 points in 61 games.
Being drafted is the dream of any young hockey player looking to make the NHL, but Dureau says the fact it was the Stanley Cup champs bringing him into the organization doesn’t make it that much better as he just wanted the opportunity.
“I’m just honoured and thankful to be selected.” Dureau said. “I like the coaching staff Tampa has and that there is a team that was in my corner and willing to take a shot. To get that call was something I’ve always wanted. It was a lot of stress off my shoulders to accomplish that goal. All the work starts now.”
As he looks back at the position he is now in, he says there are two people that he is very appreciative of for getting him to this spot.
“A lot of people say this, but its my parents.” Dureau said while on 620 CKRM’s “The Sportscage”. “They make the sacrifices when its six in the morning and I don’t want to make breakfast, they are getting up and doing that for me or they push me at night to go for a workout or a run after I’ve had a long day. I’m really proud of my parents for pushing me.”
With the WHL season being delayed, Dureau isn’t sure what the future holds, but in the meantime he continues to work out in Regina both on and off the ice as the quest to become an NHL’er continues.
“It’s a different year, but I’m just planning on getting better every day. You don’t want to be that guy who isn’t in shape when the time comes to go back to Portland or wherever.”
Dureau was one of four Saskatchewan players to get taken in the draft. The others were Prince Albert’s Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings), Saskatoon’s Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) and Warman’s Luke Reid (Chicago Steel-USHL).