Evan Waldie was selected in the 8th round of the 2018 WHL Draft, 158th overall, to the Kootney Ice. NZ scouts have described Even as a skilled forward that brings an element of grit to his team.
The Alberta native describes how his journey began, “It started playing hockey with my dad down in the basement, playing mini sticks, and just found a love for the game. I always wanted to have the skates on. My grandpa had an outdoor rink in his backyard so I was always out there playing with him.” Evan was 5 years old when he strapped on his first pair of skates and started to play organized hockey. He played his first year of Bantams for Camrose Red Wings, and his second for OHA Edmonton Prep. This year he is playing for OHA Edmonton Elite 15s, “It’s a good group of guys,” he states. “I’m excited to be with them for this season [and] try to win a championship.”
Evan found out he had been drafted from the WHL website and then got a phone call later that day from the Kootney staff. “It was around noon when I found out I got drafted by the Kootney Ice. It was a very exciting day for me, it’s a great organization and just being a childhood dream of mine to be drafted. It was awesome, putting in all that hard work, the years of training, and seeing it come true.”
Evan’s journey to the WHL was not without bumps in the road. “[The] first thing they said to me was that it was all on me. When I went to camp they told me I needed to get my skating better, so I’ve really been working on that the past couple of months.” Even went home and talked to his power skating instructor about ways he could improve. In addition to working with her, he helps to teach Bantams and Peewees, getting extra hours on the ice. “I’ve been teaching at Quantum Speed power skating. Teaching a bunch of little kids and giving back to the community. Demoing and working on my skating there.” The next time Kootney saw Evan play, “they saw improvement in my skating and wanted to sign me. Because of all the hard work I’ve put in.”
Talking about how easy the decision was, “I think the WHL with that scholarship program that they have, that’s pretty amazing. And just the organization; the head of scouting, the GM, and the coach. . . [Kootney is] a first class organization. At camp I felt right at home, all the vets were giving me positive feedback, it was a great experience being with them. I felt like it would give me the best opportunity to pursue my NHL career, hopefully, down the road.”
When asked why he decided to go the WHL route as opposed to the NCAA route, Evan responded, “I was always thinking about both but in the back of my mind it was always WHL from day 1. Growing up and watching the Oil Kings, and looking up to those players. Being one of those players now, next year maybe, it would be a great feeling knowing all those little kids are looking up to me. And giving back to the community, I love the community service that the WHL does. Kootney does a lot for their community and it’s just great to give back.” Community service includes going to schools, reading to kids, and signing autographs. They have a great presence throughout the community.
Evan is no stranger to adversity, “Looking back, when I was younger I never make any of the top teams. I was always put aside to the A teams rather than AA teams. I just had to push through that, my dad was always beside me pushing me, telling me [it] will get better if you work through this. It has. [Because of hockey] anytime there is adversity I know how to deal with it.”
Next season Evan will have the opportunity to be a full time player with Kootney Ice. He will go to camp next summer/fall and try to earn a spot on the roster. This season he is allowed to play with them for a maximum of 5 games, if they decide to call him up.