With the first overall pick in the 2023 MJHL Draft, the Winnipeg Freeze selected St. Laurent product Noah Oughton.
While the former Interlake Lightning forward is excited for his first season of Junior A hockey, he decided to see where he stacked up with some players at the next level ahead of the 2023 campaign. Oughton took part in the Swift Current Broncos training camp over the weekend.
Oughton was a hot commodity at the MJHL draft, but every team passed on him in the WHL draft. That put a chip on his shoulder.
"Being undrafted, there's always going to be something to prove. When it comes to pressure, I'm pretty good with it. I just go out and play my game," Oughton explains. "I ended up making my way to make camp and I thought that was a pretty good accomplishment."
He describes the atmosphere in the Broncos' facility as very professional.
Oughton was honoured to be asked to stay for Swift Current's main camp and says it was extremely beneficial.
"Rookie camp is pretty fast, but once you go to main camp, the guys just get two times bigger and faster. Everything is levelled up."
He believes playing against current WHL players showed him what it will take to play in that league one day. With this being Oughton's first time at a training camp of this magnitude, he was proud of his performance.
"I thought I held up well. I had quite a few goals," Oughton continues. "I thought I found my way through rookie camp and then main camp, too. I could keep up with the speed, for the most part, and I even was able to lay the body sometimes. So, it was fun."
Now that camp has wrapped up in Swift Current, Oughton has returned to Manitoba as he prepares for his rookie season in the MJHL. He describes his goals for year number one in Winnipeg.
"I want to play my game. That's the biggest goal. I'm going to try to hold my own against the bigger guys that'll be gunning for me. I'll just be trying to compete with everyone and keep up with the speed."
Oughton and the Freeze make their preseason debut on September 13, with their first visit to Portage coming on October 1.