Hintz Set to be First Bobcat Alum Drafted in 14 Years
SUNRISE, FL – With the 2015 NHL Draft set to begin Friday night, former Bismarck Bobcat winger Roope Hintz is preparing to hear his name called at the BB&T Center sometime over the weekend.
Hintz spent an early portion of the 2012-13 campaign with the Bobcats, before departing at Christmas to play professional hockey for his hometown club of Ilves, where he has played the last three seasons.
“I’m very excited for the Draft this weekend,” stated Hintz, a 6’2” winger who hails from Tampere, Finland, “I won’t be in Florida, but I’ll be watching it on TV [in Finland]. Right now, I’d like to think that I will be chosen in the second or third round.”
Whenever he is selected, he will become the first Bobcat alum to be drafted since the 2001 Draft, when the New Jersey Devils selected James Massen (1998-99) in the sixth round, 194th overall.
Should he be selected in the second or third round as hoped, he would be the highest-drafted former NAHL skater since Adam Clendening (36th, USNTDP), Brandon Saad (43rd, Mahoning Valley) and Matt Nieto (47th, USNTDP) all went in the second round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
In advance of the Draft, NHL Central Scouting Services ranked the Bobcat alum 14th among international skaters, while NHL.com rated him the 10th-best left winger available overall.
Despite only spending part of a season in the Capital Region, Hintz still remembers his time with the Bobcats fondly.
“It was great to play in front of a full rink in Bismarck,” recalled Hintz, who was just 16 years old when he joined the Cats, “which was a great experience for me. It was also very helpful for my development to be able to compete against North American players and see how good they are over there.”
Other NAHL players will be waiting for their Draft moment over the weekend, as well, with current or former goalies Matej Tomek (Topeka), Ryan Bednard (Johnstown), Evan Smith (Austin), Austin Shaw (Wichita Falls), Logan Halladay (Janesville) and Kris Oldham (Kenai River) all making the final 2015 Central Scouting list, along with former Lone Star forward Thomas Aldworth. Tomek is rated the #5 goalie in North America and, like Hintz, is expected to go high in the Draft.
The first round of the 2015 NHL Draft begins Friday at 6:00pm Central Time, with live television coverage on NBCSN; rounds two through seven will be Saturday, starting at 7:00am Central, on the NHL Network.
Back in the state capital, the Cats’ busy offseason continues on Friday, July 17, as Main Camp returns to the VFW Sports Center, running through Sunday the 19th. As always, Main Camp is open to the public with free admission.
Season tickets are now on sale for 2015-16; if you want to beat the rush of 40,000 fans for next season, now is the time! Call 222-3300 today to reserve your seats.