Medicine Hat, AB — The time has come for another crop of hockey’s best players to take the next step in their hockey journeys as the NHL held the first round of their annual Entry Draft for players born between January 1, 2001, and September 15, 2003.
For Cole Sillinger this night is not only a culmination of a life dedicated to his craft, but also the start of next chapter of his hockey career. The excitement was palpable as Sillinger heard his name called via Zoom by the Columbus Blue Jackets picked 12th overall in the first round.
Sillinger, a native of Regina Saskatchewan was selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers with the 11th pick in the 1st round of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. Cole became the youngest player ever to score in the playoffs in March of 2019.
The 6’0″ tall forward followed up his playoff debut with an outstanding rookie season registering 53 points (22G, 31A) in 48 games which won him a share of the teams Rookie of the year award and put him 4th in the Western Hockey League in rookie scoring for the 2019-20 season.
With the COVID-19 making things uncertain, the Tigers loaned Sillinger to the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, so the young forward could work on his game. In his time in Sioux Falls, Cole continued to excel putting up 46 points (24G, 22A) in 31 games and was named the USHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Sillinger is the first Tiger taken in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft since Hunter Shinkaruk was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2013 draft, and the highest drafted player since 2004 when Cam Barker was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks 3rd overall.
Rounds two through seven will take place tomorrow. Tigers Defenceman Dru Krebs is ranked 142nd overall by NHL Central Scouting.