Soo Greyhounds defenceman Jacob Holmes had a wave of feelings in the time leading up to it, but it was all worth it in the end.
The excitement was natural as the 18-year-old was selected by the Dallas Stars on Saturday in the fifth round (143rd overall) in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
With COVID restrictions throughout the winter and a cancelled Ontario Hockey League season, Holmes spoke ahead of the draft of how the process was “a lot different” than what it would have been in a normal season.
“I’ve talked to guys that have went through the draft process before and it’s definitely a lot different (this year) than what they experienced,” Holmes said in a phone interview Thursday ahead of the draft. “It’s been a lot of video calls and calls over the phone, just virtually really. It’s a lot of reaching out and getting to know you as a person.’
How did it feel when his name came up as the Stars pick in round five?
“It was definitely an awesome feeling,” Holmes said. “There was so much excitement. It’s something I’ve dreamed about as long as I can remember. Just to see my name beside the Dallas Stars organization, it makes it that much more special.”
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be going to such a great organization with such a great history,” Holmes also said.
Holmes said he got a call from Stars general manager Jim Nill after he was selected welcoming him to the organization.
“It was definitely a pretty cool feeling getting a phone call from him,” Holmes said.
Split into two days with the opening round on Friday night and rounds two through seven on Saturday, the lead up to being picked saw different emotions for Holmes.
“You’re pretty nervous and anxious and excited too,” Holmes said of the time leading up to when he was picked. “
The draft now behind him, the focus for Holmes shifts to preparing for NHL camp with the Stars and OHL camp locally with the Greyhounds in the fall.
“It all comes down to keep working hard and doing what I’ve been doing for the past 18 months,” Holmes said. “That’s keeping myself in the best shape and being ready for September. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the ice with the team.”