Yellowknife- born hockey player Ronan Seeley was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2020 NHL draft.

Seeley, a left-handed defenceman, was drafted in the seventh round, 208th overall and is only the fifth Yellowknifer to be drafted to the NHL. The most recent was Steven Hodges, who was drafted by the Florida Panthers back in 2012.

Seeley was born in Yellowknife, living in NT for nine months before moving as an infant to Alberta. He played youth hockey there for the Red Deer under-15 AAA Rebels and playing under-18 AAA in Lethbridge, before playing a year in Washington state for the Everett Silvertips, in the Western Hockey League.

Seeley was on the tenth green at his local golf course with his dad, when he got the text that he had been drafted.

“It was a long day, it was kind of an emotional rollercoaster for me and I jus wanted to clear my head,” said Ronan. “It’s tough to watch the draft and I’m honestly glad it’s over.”

For the time being, Seeley is back home, living with his father, Patrick. With prospect camps cancelled this year, Ronan is waiting for the call to return to practice with the Everett Silvertips, where he will likely play out his junior years, then head to Carolina with the hopes of signing a professional contract.

“They’re just waiting for the call for the league to start up again, and I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon,” said Ronan’s father, Patrick. “It’s a frustrating time for these young guys who are chomping on the bit, wanting to get going with their careers.”

Justin Jarmolicz, who coached the Red Deer U15 AAA Rebels, where Seeley played for two years, said Seeley’s skill was evident when he first met him five-years ago. But it was his character that stood out.

“He came in and blew us all away with his skill,” he said. “You can tell he had something special with his work ethic, his drive and his focus that he brought day-in, day-out. He wasn’t a regular kid.”

Seeley was unknown to Jarmolicz before he first arrived at tryouts for Red Deer aged 13, but quickly impressed. The next-year, Seeley was the team captain.

“All those kids become like little brothers to me, I sure am happy for him, he’s realized one of his dreams and you can’t take that away,” he said. “It’s not about us, it’s about him and his work ethic.”

Hurricanes Director of Player Personnel, Darren Yorke, said they were excited by the addition of the YK native to the team. 

“Extremely fast skater,” he said in a statement. “Holds tight gaps and is able to jump up into the play. He’s able to play the style we love here in Carolina.”