(Photo Credit: Swift Current Broncos)
With St. Louis’ 107th pick in the 4th round of the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blues selected young goaltender Joel Hofer. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada native was drafted just shy of 18 years old. He stands 6’3″ and weighs in at 160 lbs. Joel was kind enough to answer some questions. I really appreciate his participation.
Joel Hofer Interview
- Ray: “Joel, I really appreciate you joining me, and it is my pleasure to conduct this interview. Congratulations to you on being selected at the 2018 NHL Draft. First off, how did it feel to be chosen?”
Joel: “It was probably the greatest feeling in the world hearing my name being called by St. Louis. I couldn’t be happier to go to such a great organization. All my family and friends congratulated me, and it was an amazing feeling.”
- Ray: “Let’s go back in time. Who and/or what was it that inspired you to get between the pipes? Have you always wanted to be a goalie? Also, now that the dream is becoming more of a reality, who’s been there to back you each step of the way?”
Joel: “When I was younger I started playing hockey as a player, then I switched to goalie when I was 10. I guess you could say I always wanted to be a goalie. Whether it was at street hockey or mini sticks, I always wanted to be the goalie. Once I started being a goalie, my parents were always supporting through good and tough times, and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
- Ray: “You spent 2 years at the Pursuit of Excellence Academy. In 2015-16, you were the CSSVHL’s Top Goaltender with a SVS% of .937 and a GAA of 1.74. What did this achievement do for your confidence?”
Joel: “The Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy played a huge role in my development. Every day, you’re on the ice and working out, and I think that played a huge role in my success. When I went to play at POE, I think that’s when I realized that I wanted to play hockey for a living and really started taking it seriously.”
- Ray: “You’re bleeding Blue now, but before you were drafted, who was your favorite NHL team? Who are your favorite players on the Blues roster? Why?”
Joel: “Before I was drafted, I was a Jets fan since I’m from Winnipeg, but I’m obviously a Blues fan now. Being a goalie, I’m a pretty big fan of Jake Allen. I got a chance to watch him when St. Louis played in Winnipeg, and I’m a big fan of the way he plays. As far a player, I like Vladimir Tarasenko because of his release. I know from being a goalie, you need a pretty good release to beat NHL goalies.”
- Ray: “In the position of goaltending, there are different styles and approaches. What is it about yours that makes you unique? Who are some NHL goalies that you look up to? Is there one or two in particular that you specifically model your game after?”
Joel: “As a goalie, I try and be as calm and composed as possible. I think the way I can read and react to quick plays is what makes me unique. I look up to a bunch of goalies, but I like to take away a couple things from their game and add it to mine.
For example, I look up to Pekka Rinne because of how big he is, yet he is still very athletic, and makes unbelievable saves night in and night out. I also look up to Marc-Andre Fleury because of his speed and ‘compete’ level. Carey Price, I probably look up to the most because of how calm he is and how he makes hard saves look easy.”
- Ray: “In Sarah George’s article, “High Hopes for Hofer”, she actually compares your height and gameplay to that of an 18-year-old Rinne. She claims that good coaching and mentoring can lead you to great success. How does it feel to be compared to Pekka?
Joel: “Yeah, I mean obviously it’s amazing that some people compare me to Pekka. Like I said before, I try to take a few things away from his game but it’s definitely cool to be compared to him. I still know that I’m my own goalie and I control my future. I know that I still have a lot of work to do if I want to make it to the next level.”
- Ray: “With the Swift Current Broncos, you now have your first season under your belt. Could you have asked for anything better at this point in your career than a WHL Championship? Tell me about that whole experience.”
Joel: “I couldn’t have asked for a better first year in the WHL. The whole experience was something that I will never forget. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to mentor me through my first year and kind of teach me the ropes of what it takes to be successful. Everyone got along in the room, and I’m really grateful that I could be a part of it.”
- Ray: “You put the Blue Note on your chest for the first time and took to the ice at prospect camp. How special was that?”
Joel: “It was amazing to put the Blues jersey on for the first time. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and I couldn’t have asked to go to a better organization. At camp, there were a lot of skilled players, and I really enjoyed every time I stepped on the ice.”
- Ray: “Hugh McGing told me his paintball team was undefeated. I have to ask, were you on the winning squad as well? That must have been fun.”
Joel: “We all had a great time. Thankfully I was on the winning side, so I’m sure our team had more fun than the other group. But, it’s a good bonding moment, and you get to know some of the guys a bit more. It was overall a good time.”
- Ray: “Your sophomore season with the Swift Current Broncos is coming up. What excites you about the upcoming season?”
Joel: “I’m really excited to go back to Swift Current. People are saying the town is still buzzing about last year, so I’m really excited about getting back into the swing of things, and to get the season going.”
It was my pleasure to interview Joel Hofer. I greatly appreciate his participation. I look forward to following his development and wish him the best of luck with the Swift Current Broncos this coming season. You can follow Joel on Twitter @joelhofer123.
If you’re intrigued to know more about him, be sure to read “High Hopes for Hofer”.