This article was originally published on June 14, 2024. Basha has been selected by the Flames in the second round of the 2024 NHL Draft.

Andrew Basha went from trying to stop pucks to scoring goals.

And good thing, too.

“Any kid had a phase that they wanted to be a goalie,” he laughed. “I remember in Novice you were always rotating. I’ll always remember the last game I played goalie, I let in 17 goals or something like that. Wasn’t very good so I thought I would get away from that and stick to being a forward.”

The right choice.

After all, Basha is now lighting it up with the Medicine Hat Tigers, being a key component in their high-flying attack as he enjoyed a career year with 85 points (30G, 55A) in 63 games.

But he still holds onto a bit of a goalie connection, sporting No. 34 in honour of Flames legend Miikka Kiprusoff.

“Growing up we had season tickets for the Flames, Kipper was always one of my favourite players,” Basha said. “When I came to Med Hat, I always liked 34 on Kipper and had the opportunity to wear it and I love that number.”

Going from watching NHL games at the ‘Dome to now being one step closer to play there with an NHL club. Everything has led to this moment, the NHL Draft.

And now with the big day just few weeks away, the dream is almost a reality.

NHL Draft prospect Andrew Basha has a lethal shot

“It’s been unbelievable, it’s the coolest thing in the world to talk to NHL teams,” Basha said about the draft experience. “It’s stressful, but fun. Going to events like the Top Prospects Game, NHL Combine, talk to team executives and general managers is pretty surreal and is something I don’t take for granted. Great memories to look back on.

“This is everything. Growing up, these are the guys you look up to. With the Flames tickets and going to most of the game, it’s crazy to look back on and surreal to have the opportunity to be picked. In the end it’s not the end goal, I am chasing something bigger than the draft but it’s unbelievable and I’m proud to be here.”

"Obviously I'm a (skater) but I loved Kip."

Fresh off his third season in the ‘Dub, Basha and the Tigers have taken significant steps and built a strong core that will look to be a contender for the Ed Chynoweth Cup next campaign. 

So, while Basha and the rest of his teammates dive into their summer training, there already is a buzz for what they can accomplish together.

“My speed was crucial to me coming into this past season,” he said. “I wanted to have an extra step on guys and I think I added that to my arsenal. Overall, strength and everything that comes with that, worked on my shot a lot. It comes natural when you get older to improve, an extra year you get more confident. I look to do the same and take another step next year.

“We made big additions to our group and we’re excited. We have special talent, we work hard and want to win bad. We’re very lucky to build this group from the ground up and have high expectations. We aren’t going to get too ahead of ourselves and take it one game at a time. It’s going to be a blast.”

But until then, first he’ll see which city he will head to for development camp later this summer when he hears his name called on the main stage of the Sphere in Vegas.

“I’m bringing 17 family members and four of my closest buddies - decently big crew,” Basha said.  “It wasn’t hard to sell them on Vegas. I’m very happy and thankful to them that they are taking the time to come and support me.

“It’s going to be an exciting and stressful day but look forward to it.”