Accompanied by his parents, Todd and Depp, the 19-year-old QMJHL made the six-hour trip from Kitchener to Montreal to attend the NHL Draft at the Bell Center.
Naturally, his mind was racing in anticipation as he prepared to see where he was heading.
“There were some possibilities here and there as to which team would pick me, so I was just talking about scenarios. I was dreaming a bit of eventually playing in the league one day,” Hoffman recalls. “You’re excited and you’re nervous, almost like you’re driving into a hockey game. You have a lot of adrenaline, and you’re obviously a little nervous at the same time.”
Hoffmann was eventually chosen on the second day of the festivities.
The Ottawa Senators made him a fifth-round pick (130th overall) after being selected as a defender Chris Weidman With their previous pick in the fourth round.
“Being from Ontario and my mom actually growing up in Ottawa, it was pretty cool and kind of fit the whole situation,” said Hoffman, who made 342 regular season games over seven seasons for the Sense. He always said it would be great to be back there to see me play at some point, and luckily it worked out.”
Hoffman didn’t become the NHL League overnight.
It took another five years before it became a mainstay in the nation’s capital starting in 2014-2015.
“There was still a lot of work ahead of me, a lot of hard work and determination and the desire to be an NHL player behind all of it, but you’re obviously a choice in the fifth, you haven’t given it all so you have to work for it all. Something went your way and took advantage of every opportunity,” Hoffman stressed. “Things change quickly and there are new players being drafted every year, so it was really about not taking time off. You have to have the right mindset and keep working hard if you want to be successful. That was my motivation.”
Not surprisingly, the veteran’s message for the upcoming draft class goes along similar lines.
Success at the next level is not always a given.
“Draft is a tremendous experience, something you will remember for the rest of your life, but it’s only the beginning. You never want to take anything for granted. It’s a great achievement, but you have a long way to go,” Hoffman insisted. “You have a little extra confidence now, and hopefully that will improve your game, develop as someone off the ice, and learn how to become a professional.”
The Canadian winger appreciates that his career is complete now that he has called the hosting venue his hockey house.
And he can’t wait for potential clients to discover the building’s magic for themselves early next month.
“I got a taste of the atmosphere of the Bell Center the day I was drafted and all the history behind it. I couldn’t tell the future at the time, but it’s kind of cool that your career and your life has taken you. Sometimes, Hoffman remembers going back to where it all began.” “To be drafted into one of the most amazing buildings in the world was very special, and now we have the chance to play for Montreal, it’s another good memory.”