It’s no secret why the Los Angeles Kings selected Quinton Byfield second overall in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Bringing a tantalizing combination of size and skill, the Sudbury Wolves centre is one of the most offensively gifted players in the circuit, as evidenced by his two seasons with the Wolves in which he has racked up 61 goals and 82 assists for 143 points in 109 career contests. Named the CHL Rookie of the Year following a 61-point freshman campaign, Byfield continued to add to his accolades last season highlighted by a gold-medal win with Canada at the 2020 World Juniors.
Currently attending Canada’s National Team Selection Camp in Red Deer, Alta., Byfield sat down to discuss the chance to repeat last year’s feat at the upcoming World Junior tournament and more in the latest edition of the CHL Sunday Spotlight presented by WINMAR:
How have you stayed active during this unique offseason?
It has been definitely something a little bit different but just really the usual stuff – working out and skating as much as I can and trying to keep involved and get stronger and build strength to be prepared for whenever the next game is, whatever the next move is, so just preparing like that. I have been locked down in quarantine, so me and my buddies have played a lot of video games. I think that has really kept me busy, and then once the golf courses opened up we went golfing quite a bit, like three or four times a week, so I improved my game over the summer. It’s still not the greatest but I have started making steps toward that.
What was it like to win gold at last year’s World Juniors?
It was such a great experience and a great group of guys last year. I think it was really special just to be there. Winning the gold medal is definitely something special. Not a lot of people experience that. Even at such a young age, I think it was awesome and it prepares me for this year. Hopefully I get to be on the team again and try to defend at World Juniors. Last year was an unbelievable experience playing over in Europe and seeing all of the fans coming over there and supporting us. It was unreal. It was definitely exciting and I wouldn’t change that experience for the world.
How do you see your role on this year’s World Junior team?
Hopefully I get to experience it again. I want to be in a bigger role and be more of a leader and have more of an impact on the games. Hopefully I can do that. Whatever role I get, you just want to play your best and do what is best for the team. I think that is the main idea here. Everyone is a great player and can play any situation and any role, so whatever role you get you just want to be the best you can.
Should you be back in Sudbury, what are your goals with the Wolves this season?
I think we built off a strong season last year, winning our division. That was the first division title in a while. I think there are a lot of expectations. If I go back there, I think we will be a really good team and a top competitor coming out of the East. I think we really had a shot last year, so if I go back there one of the main goals is to win the OHL and go to the Memorial Cup and win that as well. I have high hopes if I go back there and from a personal standpoint I want to be the best player and keep on my development there.
What area of your game are you most focused on further developing?
I think there is a lot of stuff that you can always keep on working on and keep getting better at. I think you can still keep on developing every part and every aspect of your game. I think, overall, just keep getting better and stronger at all areas of my game. Most importantly, my faceoffs, I think that is a big key. If you want to be out there in close situations, you have to be good on draws and as a centreman those are very important. And in the defensive zone, you can never be the best defensive guy, so that is definitely something important to work on as well. I want to use my physical size more to my advantage, just being more physical and being able to separate the body from the puck and take away that and use my body to create more space for myself offensively.