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2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
Posted On Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 8:49 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins closes out memorable week

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season en route to being named the Canadian Hockey League's 'Top Prospect'. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. This is the final post of a monthly blog that Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain this season.

Well, it's been an amazing week here in Minnesota, what more can I say. I thought I'd blog one more time to offer a little recap.

Ever since I got here (last Tuesday) we had a ton of stuff going on just touring around Minnesota, and it was a lot of fun. Obviously, on Friday for the start of the draft, it was just an incredible moment.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011 NHL Draft,

Getting drafted first was an amazing feeling and waking up this morning, knowing I was going to Edmonton, was a great feeling. I still can't describe it.

I think going up on stage and shaking Commissioner Gary Bettman's hand first and him saying welcome to the NHL was a really cool moment. It's something to hear him say that. And just getting up there, putting the jersey on and putting the hat on, it's all a great experience.

Gabriel (Landeskog) congratulated me when I was drafted since we were sitting close to each other ... we're good friends now. Last night we talked for a while and it seems so surreal but I couldn't be happier.

When I heard Gabe's name being announced, I was ecstatic for him and I was actually was downstairs inside so I really didn't hear who went third. But I was hoping it was Jon (Huberdeau) and when I found out it was, I was very happy for him. So it's great that those guys did so well too, and I guess I'll be playing against them one day.

To all the Edmonton Oilers fans out there, I want you to know I look forward to being a part of the club and I just can't wait to get it started.
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Posted On Friday, 06.24.2011 / 9:12 AM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Preparing for the big night in Minnesota

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season en route to being named the Canadian Hockey League's 'Top Prospect'. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. This is the final post of a monthly blog that Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain this season, leading up to the NHL Entry Draft.

Well, it's the day of the Draft. It's pretty unbelievable.

I'm probably going to throw my suit on, and get some breakfast this morning. I don't know what's planned yet but I don't think I'll be paying attention too much since the mind is going to be strictly focused on the Draft on Friday night. I'm excited, but anxious to get going.

I know there's a lot of talk about being the No. 1 pick and it's all kind of surreal. Just being mentioned among such great players this year and being ranked No. 1 right now is pretty incredible. I'd be very excited to join the Edmonton Oilers, if they do select me first. They have a young team with lots of skill and I would hope to be a part of their rebuilding stage and hopefully one day, win the Cup.


I played against Jordan Eberle a few times in the WHL when he played with Regina, so I know the skill level he brings and he's a great guy to give the puck to … he'll find you no matter where you are and will also score goals like it's his job. I watched Taylor Hall play quite a bit of junior and won a Memorial Cup twice. I watch him during the year play on TV too. They're a fun team to watch and I definitely feel they're going to be a great team in the future.

All in all, it's been a lot of fun this week hanging out with the prospects. We did many cool things and just being here, and getting to know them, is cool. I was pretty nervous all week, so doing this kind of stuff it kind of takes your mind off of it a little bit. We went to the Mall of America on Wednesday and went to a great theme park and aquarium. The shark tank was really cool.

On Thursday, I participated in the USA Hockey clinic that teaches the young kids how to enjoy the game by working on the fundamentals with each other. I think getting to kids when their young is the most important thing in teaching them about hockey because it's such a fun game to play. If kids get the opportunity to play, they'll learn it's a lot of fun and that's most rewarding.

All six stations that the kids had to go through were pretty cool. There was one station where (Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager) Brian Burke was at and that was pretty cool too. His station taught the kids agility skating and how to use their edges. I also liked the 3-on-3 station and the one where each player had to put his or her stick over a ring and stickhandle. Me and (Kitchener Rangers prospect) Gabriel (Landeskog) had a pretty good battle out there at that one. It taught the kids to keep their eyes up when they play with the puck.

Really, anytime you get to skate with little kids, it's fun. We were all that age (6- to 8-years-old) once and we all looked up to guys who played professionally or were in juniors, so it's great to give back and have some fun with it.

After the Draft, my main goal is going to be making it with an NHL team but if I don't make the NHL team, I won't be disappointed. It'll be a good year to go back to Red Deer and hopefully win the Memorial Cup -- that's the goal at least. Personally, it'll be a good rebuilding stage as well.

I hope you enjoyed my blog this year for NHL.com. It was a lot of fun.
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 7:17 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins checks in from NHL Combine

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com this season that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. I'm here at the NHL Scouting Combine at the Westin in Toronto. I arrived to the hotel on Monday and, on Monday night, me and my dad went to the Toronto Blue Jays game against the Cleveland Indians. My dad's a big Blue Jays fan so he was happy they came out on top.


It was my first time going to a Major League Baseball game so that was pretty cool. On Tuesday, I kind of hung around the hotel and met some of the guys I know around the (Western Hockey League) and went out to dinner with them … I ordered a Oscar sirloin. It was pretty good.

My first interview on Wednesday was with the Edmonton Oilers. It went really well and I got a good feeling from them. I'm starting to feel more comfortable around them now because I've had a couple of interviews with them so it's been going pretty well. I'm looking forward to draft day.

The media requests and interviews have gotten easier for me. The biggest thing is, I feel more comfortable with all of it, but I think it's still really cool and this was the first time I got to see a lot of these teams here so it was definitely a great opportunity to meet new people.

People have been asking me who I'm rooting for in the Stanley Cup Final. I never really was a Canucks fan, but I think it's great how well they're doing now. It's looking really good for them right now.

I know there's been a lot of talk about my weight and if I have the strength to play in the NHL next year, but I really feel I took some strides this year. I feel like I could play in the NHL next year. I know I need to bulk up a little bit, but if I put on five to 10 pounds, I'll be ready to play.

I'm a little anxious about the fitness testing (on Friday). The bike tests are pretty tough but everyone has to do them so I'm just going to work as hard as I can on it and just get through it. I'll be leaving for Red Deer right after the testing.

If I don't get drafted first overall, I don't know if it'll be disappointing really. But I'd love to go first. If I didn't, I'd be happy to be drafted wherever it is.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.19.2011 / 12:09 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins looks forward to NHL Combine

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, rated No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final report, had 31 goals, 106 points and a plus-30 rating in 69 games for Red Deer this season. He chipped in with 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-5 rating in nine playoff games. Nugent-Hopkins offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Well, it's NHL Combine time. I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and it's going to be a lot of fun. I know I'm really looking forward to talking with some teams and being able to meet some of the top prospects from around the world, so it's definitely going to be a fun experience. I think I'll be getting there on Tuesday (May 31). Before that, I'll be attending the CHL Award ceremony in Mississauga (at the Living Arts Centre on May 28).

The fact that nothing will be done on the ice is an interesting concept because it gives the general managers and scouts an opportunity to look at us off the ice and what we're like as people instead of just hockey players. So it's a whole different aspect.

I've been in the gym pretty much every day and I've been doing most of the Combine exercises. I'm trying to get as prepared for it as possible and have just been working as hard as I can. (The NHL Scouting Combine will be held May 30 to June 4 in Toronto).

I've heard about the bike tests (Wingate anaerobic measure and aerobic-max VO2) and I know they'll be pretty tough, but I think my cardio is pretty good so I should be OK on the VO2. But the Wingate is pretty tough. I'm trying to prepare myself for that, but I guess you never can prepare yourself enough for it.

As far as the season goes, it was disappointing to lose to Medicine Hat in the playoffs (4-games-to-1). All year they kind of had our number for some reason, but I thought we worked as hard as we could but things just didn't seem to go our way. The first round we played great (in a four-game sweep of Edmoton) and we had a couple of solid games against Medicine Hat, but couldn't get it done.

I think with the way the (WHL champion) Kootaney Ice have been playing in the playoffs, I think they have a very good shot at winning the Memorial Cup.
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins dishes on CSS No. 1 ranking

Hi everyone. It was a pretty exciting day on Monday, to say the least. I'm in Medicine Hat (Alberta) right now with my teammates preparing for Games 3 and 4 of our playoff series.

My mum was the first person to text me Monday morning with the news that I received the No. 1 ranking on the Central Scouting list. The text read, 'Congratulations for being ranked No. 1.' So that was the first time I found out about it. It's definitely a big honor for me. It was even cool to be up near the top at the mid-term, so being ranked No. 1 was a great honor and I'm very excited about it.

I think being ranked near the top is really cool and I don't think it'll make that much of a difference if you're ranking up there anyone. Every team has their own preference. But I know I have to keep working on some things and just keep on getting better. I'm just motivated and determined to do whatever it takes to improve my overall game. I can tell you that I did like watching the Oilers play quite a bit when I was younger.

As for right now, though, I'm just focused on helping our team, Red Deer, get back into our playoff series with Medicine Hat. We're down 2-0 in the series (while being outscored, 14-1) with Games 3 and 4 set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

How can we get back into this series? I think our special teams need to get better. They have quite a few goals on their power-play and we haven't been able to capitalize on our power-play so we need to improve on our special teams and try getting those pucks to the net and get in front of the net and really work hard to get the rebounds.
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Posted On Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 12:47 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gearing up for playoffs

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was recently named the Western Hockey League's Player of the Week and was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, who was rated No. 3 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting's mid-term report, has 24 goals, 94 points and a plus-25 rating through 64 games for Red Deer this season. Nugent-Hopkins, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. We had a great 7-0 win over Prince George on (March 8) and I was fortunate to get a goal and three assists in the game. I think the team is where I hoped it would be early in the season (at 44-16-7) and that's huge.

Personally, I'm having a pretty good season and pretty happy with the way things are going. It does feel like we're about to take off and it's a good feeling in the locker room right now. Everybody's really excited and we're all ready to get going for the playoffs. Our goalie (Darcy Kuemper, 41-12-2) has been big for us. He's a great goalie and has taken huge strides over the past couple of years. He's had an unbelievable season and he's someone we can rely on.

As I mentioned last month, I was determined to shoot a little more and I'm really clicking with my teammates really well. We've developed some good chemistry and it really came together in the month of February (when Nugent-Hopkins had 6 goals, 20 points in 12 games).

With the draft three months away, there's been quite a few interview requests but it's all fun. I'm just trying to embrace it. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I'm just trying to embrace it as much as I can.

It was cool to get my second hat trick of the season (against Calgary on March 4). It's a good feeling when you get a hat trick because everyone gets excited and the fans are into it. I'm just shooting the puck more and getting some really good passes from my linemates -- it's been working well.

I was told that I was among the top five prospects (according to NHL Network analyst Craig Button) and just to be mentioned among the top players is a huge honor for me. It's great being mentioned No. 1 especially. It's all very surreal for me.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog this month. Talk to you again in April.

(Editor's note: Here is Craig Button's synopsis of Nugent-Hopkins. "No. 1 centers are really hard to find. No. 1 centers that make everyone around them better, are even more difficult to find. Hopkins has unbelievable vision, he's got unbelievable creativity and when you combine it with great quickness in his feet, and hands, and the ability to see what's unfolding, he's hard to check. He's elusive … a lot like Brad Richards, maybe even a Joe Sakic although not as good a shooter as Sakic. But if you're looking for similarities to that type of player, I think it's fair to compare him to a Brad Richards or a Joe Sakic-type. I know those are lofty expectations, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins if a premier player.")

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.09.2011 / 12:15 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Earning top honors in Western Hockey League

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was recently named the Western Hockey League's Player of the Week and was named the top player for Team Orr at the 2011 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 19. Nugent-Hopkins, who is rated No. 3 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, has 19 goals, 80 points and a plus-21 rating through 53 games for Red Deer this season. Nugent-Hopkins, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Well, we lost a tough one (Tuesday) night against Medicine Hat. We knew it would a battle going into the game and we came out really hard and dominated the first period and a half and then it just seemed like we let our foot off the gas in the third.

It was really a great honor to be named WHL Player of the Week (after scoring 5 goals, 12 points in three games). My linemates and me are really playing well and we put up a lot of points and we got some good wins. My linemates, John Persson (26 goals, 50 points) and Andrej Kudrna (24 goals, 66 points), have been with me most of the year and we've been playing pretty well lately. Everything seems to be going right for us right now.

It was really cool getting the second hat trick of my career (against Moose Jaw on Feb. 4) and I was excited about it. I'm shooting the puck a little bit more and that's really helping out a lot. I have some more confidence in my shot now.

In our victory over Saskatoon (on Feb. 1), it was another tough battle against defender Duncan Siemens (rated No. 14 by NHL Central Scouting). We've always have some battles, so it's always good to play against a guy like that … it's good competition.

I think, as a team, we've come a long way since the start of the season (Red Deer has won 13 of its last 15 games). We're such a tight-knit group now and it was just like a family in the dressing room. We have some experience under our belt and a lot of talent so everything is working for us right now. I think we still have a lot of offer. I really don't think we're peaking right now. We're going to reach our peak right when we hit playoffs, so we're all looking forward to that.

I also wanted to say how great an experience the Top Prospects Game (on Jan. 19) was. It was a lot of fun getting to meet all those people and awesome playing with and against the top players in the CHL was a really a big deal for me. It's a once in a lifetime thing that I'll never forget. I think probably playing in the Air Canada Centre was my best memory. Anytime you get to play in a building like that, it's pretty exciting and we got to use the Maple Leafs' dressing room. That was awesome, seeing what it was like. We got a taste of that NHL feeling a little bit, so that was really cool.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.12.2011 / 1:28 PM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Reaction to mid-term release by NHL Central Scouting

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a center for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Nugent-Hopkins, selected first overall in the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, was named the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 24 goals and 65 points in 67 games. He was an assistant captain for Team Canada at the Under-18 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and scored the game-winner against Team USA in a 1-0 victory during the gold-medal game. Nugent-Hopkins, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone.

It was a huge honor to be ranked (No. 3 among North American skaters) by the NHL's Central Scouting this week. To be mentioned with all those other great players is very exciting. But, really, I'm just going to keep working on my game as much as I can from this point forward. Obviously, the goals are harder to come by this year for me (10 goals, 50 points in 39 games), but I'm just going to keep working on it as much as I can.

I'm also looking forward to participating in the (CHL/NHL) Top Prospects Game in Toronto (Jan. 18-19). I'll be flying out of Regina on Monday to get to Toronto. It'll be a great test for me playing with all the top prospects around the CHL. It'll be a lot of fun. It's something I watched as a kid growing up, so I'm excited about it.

I'm pretty happy with my year so far. I'm definitely trying to become a better defensive player this year and I think it's paying off (Nugent-Hopkins is a plus-8 this season). Being a good defensive player is a huge part of the game and it's something I wanted to improve and get better at this year.

We have some big games coming up. I think at the start of the year we were a little more consistent. Maybe we got away from our game recently, but I thought we really stepped it up in our last one against Kootenay (a 6-1 victory).  I think we're just going to build off that and keep it going as good as we can. Hopefully, we can string some wins together here.

Being on the road with the guys is good. Every time we're on the road, everyone bonds together and it brings the team tighter as a group.

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading and check back next month when I'll discuss the prospects' game.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.08.2010 / 9:00 AM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Thrilled for invite to Hockey Canada Junior camp

We are pretty close to half way through the season now and our team, the Red Deer Rebels are sitting second in our conference and first in our division with a record of 20-7-3 with 2 shootout losses. We definitely are happy with the way things are going right now and we want to keep it going like this. Personally, in the 30 games so far I have 8 goals and 32 assists for 40 points. I am pretty happy with how things are going personally and with the team. Me and my two linemates are really starting to find good chemistry with each other. I am playing with Andre Kudrna, and John Persson.

The team had a really good weekend, beating the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday, and the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday. Brandon had just got Brayden Schenn back so they had a boost on their team and it was good to play against him.

After my Friday night game against Kelowna I will be heading to Toronto for the Canadian National Junior camp. When i first got news that I was invited to the camp I was extremely excited, to say the least. It was very hard to fall asleep that night. Getting invited to the camp is a huge honour for me. I have watched the World Juniors ever since I can remember and getting the chance to make the team is really exciting and special to me. I'm preparing as much as I can to get ready for the camp and hopefully I am able to crack the roster.

Also, being ranked the top WHL player for the upcoming draft by Central Scouting is another big honour for me. All of this stuff that is happening is really surreal for me and my family. We never really expected all this to happen, but we really enjoy it and embrace it.

Away from the rink, I still like to be a kid and have fun hanging out with the guys on the team. A lot of the time its just playing video games, but its good to just relax and hang out. I am yet to go to the out door rinks this year but I definitely think I will be getting out there sometime soon. I feel its necessary to take advantage of it while I am in Red Deer since we really dont have any in Vancouver.
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.10.2010 / 9:00 AM

By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins draft blog

Snapping from a slump

Hi everyone!

Well, the first month of the season is done and our team (Red Deer / Western Hockey League) has 11 wins and 6 losses and we're sitting second in our division and third in our conference.

It's been a good start for us, but we definitely could have a better record than that. Right now, I have played 17 games and have 3 goals and 22 assists. The goals are not coming too easy for me right now but I'm really working on bearing down in practice on scoring. I'm also working on my shot after practice whenever I can so I can start putting the puck in the net. It's kind of frustrating that I'm not scoring because I would like to be helping my team out in that way a little bit more, and whenever we lose it's because we can't score goals, so I would like to contribute in that way a little more.

But, I'm just keeping a level head and trying to stay positive as much as I can.

Away from the rink, when the guys get together, we're playing Xbox most of the time. We definitely play NHL '11 quite a bit, but the game we play the most is Tiger Woods '11. No matter what game we are playing, it always gets intense and very competitive.

The WHL Subway Series is coming up on November 17 and 18, and I will be playing for team WHL on the 17th in Kamloops. I'm really excited and looking forward to the game and really happy to get this opportunity. Right now we're on our U.S road trip where we play Seattle, Portland, Tri-City, Everett, Vancouver, and Chilliwack. It's nice to be coming back West and I'm excited and nervous to play in Vancouver again. Hopefully this year goes a little better than last year.

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