PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -– The road to the playoffs is always a challenging one, but the Portland Winterhawks like their chances with one of the most talented goaltenders in the Western Hockey League standing between the pipes.
Adin Hill is making hockey fans stand-up and take notice in just his second season with the Winterhawks.
“I got listed by them when I was 15-years-old, and then signed when I was 16,” said Hill. “And then I didn’t get a chance to fully play until last season.”
“He had a great end to our season last year in the playoffs [and] really took us through a couple of rounds there,” Kyle Gustafson, the Winterhawks assistant coach, said. “[We] had a lot of pressure on him [and] a lot of work load, too. And [he] really responded well obviously carrying us through the playoffs.”
“He came in halfway through the year last year, and he was huge for us. He took on a huge role, and then he came prepared this year,” said Dominic Turgeon, who’s the Winterhawks captain. “And he’s been unbelievable so far.”
Five straight wins in late October, including a 45-save blanking against Brandon Wheat, are just a few reasons why Hill was recognized as the Vaughn WHL goaltender of the month for October.
“For me, like it’s a great personal honor but it’s more about the team,” said Hill. “I enjoy winning games for my team, and giving them a chance to win every game so that’s my main goal.”
And his other goal is to help Portland hoist its first Memorial Cup since 1998.
“That would be amazing. It’s my dream for this year,” said Hill. “I set that goal at the start of the year, and we’re working step-by-step to try and achieve that.”
“I’ve seen him since I was 15 [at] training camp so I’ve seen him grow a lot, and same with myself,” Keegan Iverson, a Winterhawks left wing, said. “I mean, seeing him when he was 15, and he was kind of a lot more skinnier and stuff like that. Seeing him now, and we’re both 19, it’s a big improvement.”
Hill has improved so much that he was selected in the third-round, 76th overall, by Arizona in the 2015 NHL entry draft.
“When my name was called [you] can’t explain the feeling that goes through you,” said Hill. “Like, the amount of emotions, [you’re super] excited. I don’t know. It’s crazy. You can’t explain it. It’s an honor. It’s [been] my dream to play in the NHL since I was 4-years-old, so it’s awesome to see that [I was able to get drafted by an NHL team].”
“He’d be the first to tell you that it’s not only getting to the NHL level, but it’s a process,” said Gustafson. “He’s on the radar right now for the World Junior team in Canada. He still has a lot to prove here in Portland – being an elite goal tender, carrying himself through the regular season, and hopefully again throughout the playoffs.”