The Philadelphia Flyers used their second-round pick on Carberry's own Carson Bjarnason in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. The goaltender was selected 51st overall and was the first Manitoban prospect to be taken in the seven-round draft.
Bjarnason is beyond proud of himself for becoming an NHL prospect, and while he will remember moments from that night forever, he doesn't recall hearing his name.
"As soon as I heard, 'from Brandon,' I was star-struck. I kind of tuned out everything from there, but I saw everybody else stand up, so I did too," Bjarnason explains. "It was such a big moment. I was super thrilled to be able to be called up by such a big organization like the Flyers. It was pretty surreal."
There were 224 young hockey players who took the next step in making their dreams a reality during the two-day draft; however, not too many of them crossed the stage at the draft, like Bjarnason did.
"It was cool. Knowing I was going to be a top two-round pick was pretty crazy, to begin with. Once it happens, you walk down there, and there's a camera on you, you get a jersey with your name on it and a hat. It's cool that Philadelphia wants me to be a part of their process."
It's been over two weeks since Bjarnason became a part of Flyer's draft pool but he says it took until his last couple of days at development camp for everything to set in.
"I'm the one living it, so it's hard to take a step back and look at what you're doing and appreciate everything you've done," Bjarnason continues. "It clicked when I was walking into the Philadelphia rink, and I just thought, 'This is where I want to play one day and where I want to spend the rest of my career.' It was a cool moment."
From July 2-6, Bjarnason had his first opportunity to take the ice for the Flyers as they hosted their development camp. He says while it wasn't quite as intense as an NHL practice or game, he is feeling even more motivated after being in the building and starting to see what it takes.
Bjarnason notes the coaches taught him a lot in the short period. He plans to put their suggestions into action next season for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Carberry product was not the only rural Manitoban to be selected by the Flyers in the 2023 draft. Sanford's Carter Sotheran was taken 135th overall by Philadelphia.
"We grew up playing against each other. I've known him from playing baseball and hockey throughout my upbringing," says Bjarnason. "We talked at the combine quite a bit, and also throughout development camp, we were hanging out most of the time with a couple of the other draft picks. We've got a common trait between us, and it's pretty easy to make small talk with us both being from Manitoba. To have him a part of this, too, makes it that much cooler."
Carson Bjarnason denies camp invite Connor MacPherson at the doorstep pic.twitter.com/YkStsGVzsa— Maher Media (@MaherMediaCo) July 3, 2023
It's been a unique journey for Bjarnason. He was not selected in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft, but he didn't give up on his dreams. In the fall of 2021, Bjarnason attended the Brandon Wheat Kings training camp and beat out two drafted goalies for a roster spot.
Now, less than two years later, Bjarnason was the 51st pick into the NHL.
"The biggest thing is when you do make it there and go to camp, everyone is on the same playing field. You can show up as an invite and still sign a contract worth more than someone who was drafted. It really doesn't matter. People will see you what you do on the ice, and that's fine but it's also about what you do away from the rink," Bjarnason explains. "I treat everyone the same. I'm the same as everyone else. I'm just another human out here. When it comes to putting in the work, you just have to do that much more, even if it's just to be able to say to yourself that you did it. It doesn't have to be about proving other people wrong but it can be about proving yourself right."
Bjarnason is ecstatic to be associated with the Philadelphia organization and says his two favourite Flyers of all time were also second-round picks.
"Obviously, Bobby Clarke, he's up there. Right now, being in the situation I'm in, and being able to say that I've always watched Carey Price and Carter Hart, modelled my game after those two. Obviously, Carter is in the mix now more heavily and I've been watching his film. There's a lot of great Flyers but those are the two notable ones for me."
Carter Hart was drafted just three spots ahead of where Bjarnason was taken back in 2016 (48th overall). He spent the following two seasons in the WHL but has been a staple in the crease for the Flyers for the past five years.
The Carberry product hopes to take a similar trajectory as he's now focusing on bringing the Wheat Kings back to the playoffs in 2024.