Draft dream about to come true for Saskatoon Blades’ Kirby Dach

WATCH: Saskatoon Blades forward Kirby Dach is about to realize a childhood dream.

From the moment Kirby Dach scored his first Western Hockey League (WHL) goal it was clear the Saskatoon Blades had a special player on their hands.

It happened on February 10, 2017, against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Dach, playing in his fifth WHL game, took a pass at the Warriors blue line and broke in alone on goal, faking to his backhand before lifting the puck into the top corner of the net.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Blades centre Kirby Dach ranked 3rd ahead of 2019 NHL Entry Draft

The goal would have been impressive no matter who scored it but the combination of skill, poise and finesse from a player just three weeks removed from his 16th birthday elevated it to another level.

Dach would go on to score a second goal that night with a top-shelf wrister that stood as the winner in a 4-2 triumph, emphatically announcing his arrival as a junior hockey player.

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In the two-and-a-half years since that game the Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., native has produced many more highlight-reel moments as he’s developed into one of the WHL’s most electrifying talents and a top-flight pro prospect.

READ MORE: Kirby Dach named WHL and CHL player of the week

Now he’s about to take the next step on that journey at the National Hockey League draft, where he’s projected to be one of the first players selected.

“(If) you would’ve asked me from three or four years old what I wanted to be was a hockey player. I haven’t strayed the path once,” Dach said.

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“It’s something that you kinda dream about and look at and think, wow, that could be my name up there and some team’s gonna be calling my name and it’s gonna be a pretty awesome feeling.”

The first NHL entry draft was held in 1963. Since then, 15 Saskatoon Blades have been selected in the first round, with eight going in the top ten. This year Dach has a chance to join both of those exclusive clubs, with some projections listing him as high as the fourth overall pick.

Dach’s combination of size and has had scouts drooling for years but what separates him from many of his peers is his competitive drive, much of which he credits to his little brother Colton, who’s just two years younger.

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“It’s a pretty good relationship we have where we’re able to push each other and motivate each other to be better, but at the same time we’re very close and loving and supportive of each other.

“And if one of us does something good, the other one’s gonna try and one-up us — so we’ve always got that internal competition between us that helps drive us as individuals,” Dach said.

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READ MORE: Kelowna Rockets players rank among top 40 heading into NHL draft

Blades head coach Mitch Love has seen firsthand how that translates onto the ice.

“He goes to the greasy areas, he goes to the hard areas to score goals and try to get pucks back and not every kid wants to do that and he’s done a real good job of that. It’s actually something I’ve watched increase as the years went on,” Love said.

Dach also carries himself with a maturity rarely seen in players his age. That, in turn, has helped him handle the attention that comes with his top prospect status.

“Obviously the media’s gonna be asking you questions about things and you just gotta do your best to answer them honestly and truthfully as you can. But at the same time, you gotta know when not to say things and when to say things, so it’s a tough process to kinda learn and go through and understand what to hear and what not to hear but I think I’ve done a good job this year of doing that,” he said.

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When Dach’s name is called on draft day, it will be a chance to celebrate what he’s done to get there. Then he’ll set his sights on NHL stardom. The 18-year-old has high expectations for where he’d like to be in five years.

“(I’d like to be a) first, second-line centreman, hopefully on a Cup contending team and it’s kinda with me being an impactful player in the organization. Being a part of the team on the ice but also being a good community person,” he explained.

“That’s somewhere I want to be and hopefully I can get there.”

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Based on what he’s done so far it would be wise not to bet against him.