It is the thrill of being drafted.

Sure, Ethan Samson of the PG Cougars wanted to go higher in the 2021 NHL Draft but his objective now is to show Philadelphia they did more than just take a Flyer on the 17-year-old defenseman.

In the final Central Scouting rankings, Sampson was listed 92nd among North American skaters.

He had to wait it out with anxious moments until his name was called following an interview with MyPGNow’s Brendan Pawliw.

With the 174th pick in the sixth round of the seven-round draft, the Flyers selected Samson, which brought not only elation for the player but for his family in Delta.

“It was pretty crazy. I was watching with my family and we all kind of jumped up and down with excitement because it caught us pretty off-guard as I never talked to Philadelphia. I didn’t think it was a place I was going to go to,” Samson told

This just goes to show most players do not have a clue where they might be headed as Samson said “I talked to a couple of other (NHL) teams.”

As a 16-year-old rookie, Samson had just seven points (two goals) in 61 games with the Cougars in the 2019-20 season.

He took on a more prominent role at both ends of the ice in the Kamloops/Kelowna mini 2020-21 bubble season playing in all 22 games.

Samson notched 12 points (one goal) with a plus-three rating.

The last two WHL seasons have been interrupted by nobody’s friend COVID-19.

Come October, a fresh start, and hopefully a full season of 68-games plus playoffs, Samson looks to take his game to the next level.

“I want to have the coaches rely on me to play a shutdown role against some of the other team’s top players and I know when I get my chance on the power play I can produce from there.”

“I realize that the work really starts now. I skate two to three times a week and I work out four times a week. I need to be ready for camp this year in PG and have a good season.”

Seldom do players selected in round six of a Draft actually land a full-time NHL roster spot, but Brett Hull, Pavel Datsyuk, and Mark Stone are among the exceptions and examples of 6th rounders who made a huge impact.

Samson has enjoyed the high of being selected by the Cougars in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft (third round, 65th overall) and now being a pick of the NHL Flyers.

He turns 18 next month, which should mean his best years are ahead of him.


There are tons of hockey stories this week due to free agency, trades, contract negotiations, and more but one re-signing of special interest had Alex Ovechkin agreeing to a five-year, $47.5 million deal to remain with the only NHL team he has played for, the Washington Capitals.

Ovechkin, who turns 36 in September, is great but he will never be the Great Gretzky, although he has a shot at the all-time goal-scoring record.

Gretzky is sitting with a whopping 894 goals, which is 164 more than Ovechkin’s total of 730.

In Ovechkin’s last five seasons (not including COVID shortened 2020-21) he averaged 44 goals per year.

He needs to average 33 goals per season over the length of his five-year deal to break Gretzky’s mark.

Many people may not want #99’s record to fall, but Ovechkin is looking to leave a legacy that will make him one of the top-10 players of all time.

If he hits 900 goals, it would be hard not to put him on that list and one could even put up an argument for top-five.


The Texas Rangers, who came in with a 12 game losing streak, had two home games this week against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had MLB’s word record at 31-70. Who says baseball doesn’t have bowl games? As in Toilet Bowl.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California

Herschel Walker, whose past includes claims of a multiple personality disorder, is eying a run at the U.S. Senate. His campaign would kick off with a televised debate against himself.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Congratulations to swimmer Margaret Mac Neil on winning a gold medal for Canada. Given how dramatically she swam 100 metres in Japan, perhaps we should call her Madame Butterfly?

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games.
Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).
His column appears Fridays on
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