Swept up by the Avalanche

Duncan defenceman Josh Anderson was picked 71st overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL Entry Draft.

They didn’t even have to hear his name.

When the Colorado Avalanche brass took to the podium in Buffalo on Saturday to announce the 71st selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, all Josh Anderson’s family had to hear was “From the Prince…” and they were on their feet cheering.

The Avalanche picked the Duncan-raised Anderson in the third round of the draft, moving the six-foot-three, 220-pound Prince George Cougars blueliner that much closer to living his dream of skating in the NHL.

“It was a big honour to be selected by Colorado,” Anderson said. “I didn’t really think much [at the time]. Everyone was happy. It was just like living a dream.”

Anderson had one goal, five assists and 86 penalty minutes in his second full season with the Western Hockey League’s Cougars, a campaign that was limited to 39 games because of eye and back injuries.

Those setbacks, however, didn’t set off alarm bells for the Avs. Anderson had been in touch with the Colorado team, and wasn’t surprised when they ended up calling his name.

“I talked to them throughout the year, and so did my agent,” he said. “I had a good feeling they would be interested.”

Ranked 60th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting and 61st overall by TSN’s hockey pundits, Anderson had a good feeling that he would be picked, although those things are never guaranteed.

“I thought I had a good shot,” he said. “If I didn’t get hurt, I would have had a better season and a better pick overall.”

Another 140 players were selected after Anderson. Anderson is the first Duncan product to be drafted since the Dallas Stars picked defenceman Alex Theriau in the fourth round in 2010.

Anderson’s back injury may have hurt his draft stock, despite assurances to teams from spine specialists that there would be no longterm effects.

It was no deterrent for the Avs, who were pleased to land a big shutdown defenceman with the 10th pick of the third round.

“They said his skills are underrated,” Anderson’s dad, Chris, said. “He skates really well for a big guy. They were describing him as an old throwback defenceman.”

That’s a label Josh is proud of.

“I think of myself as a defensive defenceman,” he said. “I move the puck well, I think defence first. That’s probably why my numbers are so low.”

Over two full seasons in the WHL, Anderson has compiled just 10 points, due in large part to the physical role he was assigned in Prince George. Some Colorado fans aired their skepticism online after Anderson was drafted, but Chris believes his son will prove them wrong.

“Josh plays hockey in obscurity in Prince George,” he pointed out. “You and me, as armchair quarterbacks, we might only see him play once a season when he comes to town, and we base our opinion on that one game.”

It will be a quick turnaround for Anderson, who will head to Denver for the Avs’ development camp that begins on July 3. There might be other camps with the NHL team this summer and fall, but Anderson anticipates being back in Prince George for the 2016-17 season. At this point, he has just one goal in mind.

“A whole season,” he said. “That’s all I have set right now.”

Anderson, who turns 18 at the end of August, was born in Nanaimo, and lived there the first three years of his life. Since then, he has called the Cowichan Valley home, living first in Lake Cowichan, then moving to Duncan before his first season of atom hockey.

He played in the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association through the bantam ranks, skating in provincial championships in peewee and bantam, then spent one year with the Victoria-based major midget South Island Royals.

Playing in the NHL has been Anderson’s dream “since the day I started to watch hockey and play hockey,” but it didn’t really seem possible until a few months ago.

“About a quarter of the way through the season, when all the scouts started talking to me, that’s when it started to kick in,” he said. “Even last year, I didn’t think about it too much. I couldn’t get drafted either way.”

Several family members, including his parents and grandmother, accompanied Anderson to Buffalo for the draft. It was a whirlwind experience, and it’s still setting in for them.

“It’s been really surreal, watching your child’s dream come true, to be drafted and having the potential to play in the NHL,” mom Kristine said. “It’s every kid’s dream, and just that small percentage get to achieve it. To be on that side of it is incredible.”

Anderson’s parents couldn’t be more proud.

“We knew Josh was under the radar here in the Cowichan Valley, but he persevered and worked hard,” Chris said. “It hasn’t come easy for him. He’s deserving. He worked hard to get where he is. It’s a nice reward to be able to achieve it.”

Realistically, Anderson is still a few years away from a shot at a full-time job with the Avalanche, but he knows what he has to do to get there.

“Stay positive and work hard every day,” he said. “I can’t get down on myself. Everybody’s got adversity to get through.”


Just Posted

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read