KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s something we don’t see often in the Kansas City metro: a local athlete drafted to the North American Hockey League.
The New Mexico Ice Wolves selected Raytown native Paden Hicks with the 11th pick during the NAHL’s Entry Draft on Wednesday.
“I was kind of told I was going to get drafted, but I didn’t know when. So I was expecting it,” the 18-year-old told FOX4. “But whenever New Mexico’s first pick came up at 11, I had my hand over my eyes and was like, ‘Please, please.’ Then it popped up, and I was running around the house. I was like, ‘Finally.’”
Hicks grew up on the ice; he started skating at 2 years old and learned to play hockey shortly after.
Over the years, he’s traveled across the U.S., living in different cities and chasing his dream of eventually playing professional hockey. He’s lived in Nebraska and recently graduated from Wichendon School in Massachusetts.
“It’s sad to see that all the good kids have to leave to actually go anywhere,” Hicks said.
The 18-year-old is looking forward beginning a new chapter with the Ice Wolves soon. Hicks said this is a minor step toward achieving his goals.
“So for juniors, which is what I’m going to be in next year, it’s a good scouting bases for D1 colleges,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be picked up by a D1 team. Then after that I’ll be looked at by NHL teams and other pro teams.”
The NAHL’s regular season begins in September.