Granted, it wasn’t Seth Jarvis’s decision to release the Western Hockey League’s First All-Star teams on Tuesday. However, it certainly worked out well for him on Wednesday.
The outstanding Portland Winterhawks’ centre/rightwinger was named a WHL Western Division First Team All-Star on Tuesday afternoon and then, on Wednesday morning, the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Bureau released its final rating of draft eligible players and Jarvis was ranked No. 11 overall among North American skaters.
“It’s exciting,” said Jarvis, who is back from Portland and enjoying the snow in Winnipeg. “I talked to a lot teams this season but of course, lately, it’s just been by phone. But it’s an exciting time.
“There really isn’t a team I want to go to more than any other team. Really, I just want veto be drafted as high as I can be. Even though we haven’t been playing, the phone has been busy and I’ve been getting a lot of calls..”
Jarvis had an outstanding draft season in Portland. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward who grew up playing on the outdoor rink at Tuxedo Community Club right behind his house, had 42 goals and 98 points in just 58 games in his second full season in the WHL. The former member of Team Canada at the U17 World Hockey Challenge and the 2019-20 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (silver medalist), Jarvis was ranked No. 19 in North America in November, but moved up to No. 11 in North America in the final ranking due to an absolutely terrific second half of the season.
“I was averaging about a point a game at Christmas,” Jarvis said. “Then I had the second half that I wanted to have all season. I always thought I was capable of it. I really gained a lot of confidence and I got a lot of help from my line mates. My left-winger Jaydon Dureau (White City Sask.) and I played really well together. And with Jack O’Brien (Denver), a 16-year-old, a centre we had a great line. Jaydon has a lot speed and really pushes the puck and Jack thinks the game really well. As a group, we had a great second half.”
Last season, as a 16-year-old, Jarvis had 16 goals and 39 points and while he played well, he became a completely different player this past season. After he had a year-and-a-half under his belt, he found his game, and became one of the elite players in Canadian junior hockey. There is no telling what kind of numbers he might put up in a full season plus playoffs.
By the way, like all of his teammates, he was bitterly disappointed in the decision to shut down the season this spring. After all, the Winterhawks were the top team in the U.S. Division with a record of 45-11-3-4 and were definitely among the favourites to win the WHL championship.
“We were all in the dressing room in Portland waiting to hear what the decision would be when we learned it would be postponed,” he said. “Then we had all made it home when we were told it would be shut down permanently. It was really disappointing because we had such a great team. We would have had a really good playoff run. I’m also really disappointed for our 20-year-olds who won’t have a chance to wear the Winterhawks jersey again. We lose three 20-year-olds next year so we should have a good team again next year. I feel for the guys who won’t be able to enjoy it.”
It’s been a tough year for a lot of hockey players and despite the season he had, Jarvis is no different than any of them. Not only did he miss the playoffs due to the coronavirus, the three-year star at the RINK Hockey Academy will not be able to enjoy his cancelled graduation celebration at Winnipeg’s Shaftesbury High School.
On the bright side, he has three more seasons of eligibility in the WHL, assuming he doesn’t make the jump to the NHL in a year or so. There is little doubt that he’ll be chosen in the first or second round this spring.
“I don’t care where I go or when, I’ll just be ecstatic to be drafted,” he said. “This has been my dream since I was five years old. Wherever I go, whenever I go, I’ll be excited.”