N. Van prospect set for college Pro prospect - Taylor Stefishen hopes to be in the 2008 NHL draft. Submitted photo
Local hockey star chooses Ohio State University instead of the Western Hockey League to better his NHL chances.
North Vancouver NHL prospect Taylor Stefishen has committed to attend Ohio State University next fall.
The 17-year-old has been lighting it up for the Junior A Langley Chiefs, notching 25 goals and 31 assists in 59 games as one of the youngest players in the BCHL last year. For his next step in 2008, Stefishen recently decided to get his college education instead of joining the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League.
But he doesn’t see the books as the be-all-end-all. Stefishen has his sights set on the big-time, and thinks the Buckeyes have a program which could help him launch into the NHL entry draft, as early as June 2008.
“I really liked their hockey program and I thought it was a good fit for me,” Stefishen said.
“Everything you need to have to be a pro, I think they have, in my opinion.”
Harvey Smyl, the Chiefs head coach and general manager, said Stefishen has the game to make it to the NHL.
“The thing I like most is he is a skilled player who plays with a lot of intensity and he reads and sees the ice well and has very good hands,” said Smyl. “He will have to do a lot of things to get to the NHL, but the potential is there...he needs to get quicker and stronger.”
After visiting the OSU campus and meeting the coaches and players, Stefishen feels good about his decision. Playing time looks to be a lock right from the start, as the Buckeyes’ top two lines will be graduating several players this year. That means Stefishen can relax and focus on scoring for the Chiefs in his last season of Junior A.
“It is a huge relief,” he said. “I think for every junior A hockey player, the biggest thing is to obtain a scholarship. (Now) I can just focus on the rest of the season.”
–with files from Sam Cooper