The road to a professional hockey career can often take a few twists and turns. Such is the case for 17-year-old hockey prospect Aidan Souligny.
Aidan began his hockey journey with the Cumberland Minor Hockey Association, but his talent would soon see him join the Ottawa Jr. 67s AAA peewee team. He progressed up through the various age divisions until he was drafted by the Navan Grads Junior A team in 2021.
|Navan native Aidan Souligny is playing Junior A hockey in British Columbia with the dream of one day playing in the NHL. FILE PHOTO|
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work-out with the Grads and Souligny decided to play elsewhere. A family advisor put out a few feelers to see if any teams needed a defencemen and he ended up in New Jersey playing for a U16 major midget team.
While in New Jersey he was scouted by Boston University, which happens to have one of the best Division 1 hockey programs in the United States. They expressed interest in Souligny joining the program on a full ride scholarship and he made a verbal com-mitment to go there in either 2024 or 2025.
The only question that remained was where would he play hockey this season?
Although he was drafted by the Oshawa Generals last spring, the OHL was not an option because to play there would mean losing his NCAA eligibility.
His only other option was to find a Junior A team in a competitive league where he could continue to develop as a player.
After weighing several different offers and opportunities he settled on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in Salmon Arm, B.C. near Kelowna.
The Silverbacks finished fourth in their conference in the British Columbia Hockey League last season and made it all the way to the semi-finals in the playoffs.
The decision to play in B.C. was made on the advice of his father, his agent and Boston University which endorsed the move.
It hasn’t been the easiest of transitions, however. Salmon Arm, B.C. is a long way from Navan, Ontario where his parents live and where he grew up.
“When I played in New Jersey last winter, I was away from home, but it was only an eight hour drive. Salmon Arm is on the other side of the country,” explains Souligny. “It’s been a huge adjustment. In fact, I’m still adjusting to the lifestyle and to the hockey. It’s a lot quicker than in New Jersey.”
Souligny is also adjusting to having to study online while he’s playing hockey.
Technically, he is still enrolled at École secondaire Garneau and he does all of his courses asynchronously through the French Catholic school board.
The challenge is in maintaining his marks so he won’t lose the academic requirements to get into Boston University.
So far, it hasn’t been a problem, and as long as he keeps his eye on the prize of a Division 1 scholarship and a potential professional hockey career, he should do just fine.