Koy Funk has the opportunity to take his talents to Stampede City.
The 15-year-old was taken 77th overall (11th pick in the 4th round) by the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League's bantam draft. Funk says the news caught him off guard.
"I was at a Team Manitoba camp. We were just about to get on the ice for practice. I was mid-warm-up, and I got a text from my brother. He said, 'Let's go! Congratulations!' I get back in, checked my phone, and I had a call from Calgary," Funk explains. "I was pretty excited. From what I've heard, Calgary is a great organization and a pretty nice city, too."
He's had his sights set on the draft for the last few months but was never quite sure if he would actually be selected.
"It's surreal. Just to think that'll I'll have the opportunity to play in the WHL with some of the best players," Funk continues. "I'll, maybe, even get a shot to play in the NHL or play professionally one day. It's a feeling that you always dream about as a kid."
Funk made the switch from the Central Plains Capitals to RINK Hockey Academy for this season and put up 45 points in 30 games. He believes this season set up him very well for the next level.
"They preached consistency and leadership. All year, those were our two things," says Funk. "If you're going to show up, you better show up with your A-game. If somebody's not on their A-game, you're going to help your teammates find theirs. You have to help yourself but also help everybody else on the team throughout the year."
While the coaching staff was very adamant about being consistent, Funk says it's a lot easier to play your best every night when you're surrounded by other players who are doing just that.
The Portager notes his last season with Central Plains was also a big building block in his hockey career.
"We didn't have a great year. Throughout the year, we didn't really focus on wins and losses, just on our next shift or our next play. Everybody became good friends, and we all worked together to put the bad moments in the past and focus on the future."
Funk says this achievement will only make him work harder this offseason as he hopes to crack the Hitmen's roster when the 2023-24 season rolls around.