Moments like this only come once in a lifetime.

The NHL Draft.

For Hitmen forward Carson Wetsch, everything has been leading up to this moment and with the draft just a few weeks away, the dream is close to becoming a reality.

“The process has been crazy,” he said. “My first time talking to a team, they were sitting in front of me I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m talking to an NHL scout, this is a dream come true.’

“It was a pretty surreal moment for me and now getting to sit across from GMs, sitting across from Steve Yzerman, will be unreal. He had an amazing career and I’ve always been a fan of his game. Meeting with him and all the GMs just makes this experience that much more special.”

The 18-year-old is coming off career season in his second campaign in the ‘Dub, posting 25 goals and 25 assists, good for fourth in team scoring.

Outside of the production, the winger started to come into his own playing a more physical style, while being a player that plays with a ton of energy with each shift.

Wetsch forces a turnover, a snipes a beauty

“I thought I started a little slow and picked it up at the end of the halfway point of the season,” he said. “From there on I really found my game and picked up what kind of player I am and my role on the team. It all started to take off from there.

“My physicality grew a lot and that helped me create more space for myself and my teammates. That helped me take that next step.”

On top of the growth he has had with the Hitmen, Wetsch has added hardware to his name already at such a young age – two gold medals, to be exact, with Canada at the U17s and U18s.

Not a bad way to spend two off-seasons.

“Every time I get to throw that (maple) leaf jersey on, it’s a pleasure,” Wetsch said. “Getting to come out with two golds is very special. That group is very special, we had a lot of talented guys and hopefully I get to wear that jersey again sometime down the road.”

Wetsch shows great speed, drives hard to the net

The most recent gold was a wild one at the U18s a month ago, as Canada came back from a 3-2 deficit late in the third to battle back and top the U.S. 6-4.

“We were battling all the way that game, hard on pucks and being physical,” Wetsch said. When they got that penalty, we thought okay now is our chance we gotta go for it. After every goal I would look over to Malcom Spence and our jaws dropped we were like, ‘We’re really going to do it, this is amazing.’

“You can’t explain what it’s like after the moment – you only really feel it in the moment – but it was special and memorable.”

Now going from the international stage to the draft stage, there has been a buzz around the Wetsch household as soon as he was listed by NHL Central Scouting.

“They may not be as stressed about it as I am, but they are excited,” he laughed. “Just good vibes around the house and my parents are super proud of me getting to this point.

“My dad and mom played a huge role, those early morning skates, helping me in my training. I have to credit all my past coaches that helped me make me the player I am today, as well. Steve Hamilton really taught me how to be a pro on and off the ice and my agent has been a big mentor to me.

“That day is going to be unreal.

“Once in a lifetime.”