Last month at the NHL Entry Draft, Plano-native, Seth Jones, made history as the highest drafted Texas-born player, going 4th overall to the Nashville Predators. Seth is a direct result of the Stars move to Dallas from Minnesota back in 1993, thanks to the vision of Stars President and CEO, Jim Lites and the creation of the Dr Pepper Stars Centers. Hockey, though still a novelty, became an alternative to more and more youth in Texas who thought there was a better way to stay cool instead of football two-a-days.
However, before the rise of Seth Jones to superstardom, there is another Plano-native who made waves at the NHL draft just a few years before Jones. Stefan Noesen was drafted 21st overall and was the number one pick of the Ottawa Senators. Noesen has played 4 seasons in major junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers and has a total of 215 games and averaging just over a point a game with a total of 220 (100-G 120-A).
After a slew of trades the day before by the Dallas Stars, Ottawa traded Stefan along with Jakob Silfverberg and a 1st round draft pick in next year’s draft to Anaheim for Bobby Ryan. Without a doubt, Noesen will make a push to make the Ducks squad full time, and with the departure of Ryan’s shot from the right side, should fit in nicely, however, he could potentially start the season with the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL.
We were fortunate to have Stefan take a few moments with us during his busy travel schedule of trying to get situated to answer how his journey has been thus far. Enjoy!
Stars Insider: Texas is football. How did you get into hockey?
Stefan Noesen: My great grandpa was a proud Canadian and he wanted someone in the family to grow up with hockey. Also people in Dallas were starting to appreciate hockey a little bit more, as it started to grow.
SI: Leading up to the Whalers, where did your different levels of hockey take you (when and where)?
SN: Playing in the Dallas metroplex for numerous years we traveled everywhere to find some good competition. I eventually migrated my way to Michigan where I played 2 seasons in 2008 and 2009 with the Compuware program based right out of the rink where the Whalers play.
SI: Did you have a feeling that you'd go first round in the draft (did Ottawa contact you and give you any indication)?
SN: I had a little feeling; I spoke with Phoenix, Anaheim and Ottawa numerous times. Anaheim and Phoenix actually right before the draft.
SI: Given everything Mike Modano has done for hockey in the south, have you had any contact with him and if so, what advice has he given you?
SN: I actually have not, it would be a huge honor and pleasure if I were to ever meet him and get to sit down and talk to him once.
SI: Much has been made regarding the situation regarding the Phoenix Coyotes. Do you feel hockey can flourish in the south and what would you like to see from the league, media, etc to help make that a possibility?
SN: I feel that the league has done a great job with hockey in the south thus far. The situation in Phoenix is difficult. I don't know much about what is going on, but I hope that it does get situated and that they stay in Phoenix to help hockey grow in the south.
SI: What advice would you offer other kids from North Texas who look to follow in your skates?
SN: My advice would be to keep pushing yourself to get better; because that’s the only way you are going to get to where you want to be.
In speaking with Stefan today after an appearance on the Elf and Slater show on 105.3 The Fan, I asked if he had any indication as to next season and how it would play out and he stated there has not been any discussion in regards to where he’ll start off. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Stefan can go into camp with a clean slate and not have the added pressure of “you’re making the club” or the possible disappointment of “we’re gonna send you to Norfolk to start the year.” Either way, Noesen’s move to Anaheim should provide numerous opportunities for him to turn the page to the next level.