They say you could hear the cheer all the way from Saskatoon.

But on the Laing family farm in Harris, Sask., the roar was deafening.

Hunter Laing grew up far from the prairies in Kelowna, B.C., but last Saturday the family was parked in the Land of Living Skies, waiting to hear if his name would be called in the NHL Draft.

Spoiler alert - it was.

My whole dad’s side is there, we were on the farm, probably had 20 to 25 family members,” Laing said when asked to recall his draft-day moment. “We were sitting on the couch just waiting, my uncle just started screaming and, you know, there’s my name with the Flames!

“Thrilled to be here and can’t wait to get things started.”

Laing is hard to miss on the ice. At 6-foot-6, he towers above his peers, and obscures goaltenders’ vision much like storm clouds block out the southern Alberta sky around this time of year.

He scored 11 goals in his rookie WHL season with the Prince George Cougars, carving out a role amid a talent-laden forward group that enjoyed the most successful season in the club’s history in Northern B.C.

Three Cougars - including Laing - were drafted this year, including Lethbridge’s Terik Parascak, who shot up the draft boards and wound up being selected 17th overall by Washington.

All in all, it was the right environment for Laing to find his feet - and find his role as a WHL power forward.

“It was my first year, the guys were awesome, we had a really tight core,” he said of the 2023-24 Cougars. We saw a couple players get drafted, I was super happy for Perry, there, going 17th, and then (Ondrej) Becher, and then we have a lot of guys at development camps.

“We had a good team, I enjoyed it, had a lot of fun, and we’re looking to do the same thing next year.”

Laing knows there’s work to be done as he continues chasing pro hockey dreams.

But he’s got the perfect role model right at home in father Quintin; the former Abbotsford Heat captain carved out a 14-year pro career that included NHL stops in Chicago and Washington.

Originally drafted by the Red Wings in 1997, the elder Laing was a powerful WHL winger himself with the Kelowna Rockets, wreaking havoc in the old bandbox Memorial Arena in the late 1990s.

He put in the work: his NHL debut came at 24, his first NHL goal four years later at the age of 28, and a Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears in 2009.

Now, Hunter’s carrying on a family legacy, all while sporting the No. 53 Quintin wore with the Capitals.

“I consider my dad my best friend, he’s always been there for me, he’s been my role model ever since I was born,” Hunter said. “Watching him play for Washington, coming here, it’s pretty cool to wear his number that he wore here.

“It’s definitely a full-circle moment. I definitely know he’s proud of me back home.”

Hunter is set to see plenty of his father on the ice this winter too - Quintin serves as an assistant coach with the Rockets.

But family rivalries aside, the younger Laing is focused on taking lessons from this week’s camp, and the trust invested in him by the Flames, into his sophomore season in Prince George.

And make no mistake - he wants to be a player his team can count on.

“I’m a player that a coach can trust, you know, put out there late in the game, take a faceoff, or just play a 200-foot game,” he said. “I feel like I can play net-front, I’m good around the net. I can make some plays, too, score some goals.”

He’s got the size advantage.

He’s got the self-belief.

And now that he’s gotten a taste of Flames Development Camp, Laing knows what it will take to get to that next level.

“(I’m) just seeing the level here of how good these guys are, how strong they are,” he said, wide-eyed.

“I’ve definitely got to build my game.”