California natives Demin, St. Ivany see NHL Draft dreams realized in Dallas
Not only did California’s defense not rest, it added to its legacy when two more members of the blue line fraternity were chosen on Day 2 of the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 23.
Former Anaheim Jr. Ducks defenseman and Cypress native Slava Demin and ex-Los Angeles Jr. Kings blueliner and Manhattan Beach product Jack St. Ivany were selected in the fourth round by the Vegas Golden Knights and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively.
Both emerged during their second season of junior hockey, Demin with the Wenatchee Wild of the BCHL and St. Ivany with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL. Demin, who was taken 99th overall, is a 2000 birth year who will play at the University of Denver in the fall, while St. Ivany, who went 112th, is a 1999 who is headed to Yale.
Demin (pictured below) helped Wenatchee win the Fred Page Cup as the BCHL champions as well as the Fred Doyle Cup for capturing the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Pacific Region. He also became the first Jr. Ducks player to be drafted since the club returned to Tier I hockey five seasons ago.
“This is really special for Slava, and for the club,” Jr. Ducks director of coaches Craig Johnson said. “He’s a really great hockey player and a terrific young man.”
Demin was one of the BCHL’s top-scoring defensemen, putting up 45 points in 57 regular-season games and adding seven more points during the Wild’s extended playoff run, which ended in the RBC Cup, Canada’s Junior A championship.
His season barely ended when the Golden Knights came calling.
“It’s an unbelievable experience,” Demin said. “You only get this experience once in your life.
“Vegas was up there in the Stanley Cup Final, so it’s just super cool to be part of an organization that has done so well right from the get go.”
At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Demin boasts a fluid skating style, a high hockey IQ and excellent passing and shooting ability.
His time with the Jr. Ducks “really helped me because I was exposed to really good coaching and a program that was starting to put so much money into player development,” he said. “Also, being able to play against some of the top kids in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League helped a lot.”
Demin played for the U.S. Select 18 Team at the prestigious Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup last August, a nod that enhanced his draft stock.
But he was quick to give credit where credit is due.
“Both of my parents have been a huge impact,” he said. “Both of them did whatever they had to do to make sure I was always having fun at the rink. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
While Demin was drafted in his first year of eligibility, this was St. Ivany’s second.
“I went into it with an open mind,” St. Ivany said. “It wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t get drafted, but there are no guarantees if you do.
“The way it worked out was exciting, and it was a good moment for my family and me.”
St. Ivany (pictured very top) cited two factors in his ascent onto scouts’ radar. One, he was more familiar with the USHL, and it showed with 36 points in 54 games after 10 points in his first season. The other was his offseason training.
“He is super smart,” said Jack Bowkus, who coached St. Ivany for two seasons with the Jr. Kings. “He’s good defensively, but he’s also pretty talented on offense. His skating has improved a lot. You knew he had a future in hockey because of how hard he trains. He’s also a really good person.”
The Jr. Ducks and Jr. Kings took a lot of pride in knowing both players remained in California through their Midget 16U seasons.
“It shows you can stay here and still succeed,” noted Bowkus.
Demin photo/The Province; St. Ivany photo/Heather Barry
— Chris Bayee
(Aug. 8, 2018)