Portland Winterhawks goaltender Joel Hofer has inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues.
The Winnipeg, Man product put pen to paper on the deal a day before the Winterhawks were set to open the first round of the 2019 Western Hockey League Playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs.
Hofer began his WHL career last season with the Swift Current Broncos. Appearing in 19 games, Hofer posted an 8-3-1-1 record, 2.61 goals-against-average, a .914 save percentage, and one shutout. He’d also appear between the pipes for 46 minutes during the 2018 WHL Playoffs, yielding the majority of the minutes to the veteran Stuart Skinner, as the Broncos claimed their first WHL Championship since 1993.
This past June, the 6-foot-3, 157-pound goaltender was selected in the fourth round, 107th overall, by the Blues. Hofer was the first WHL goaltender to be selected in an NHL Draft by the Blues since they chose Regina Pats goaltender Ed Staniowski with the 27th pick in the 1975 NHL Draft.
He began the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season with the rebuilding Broncos and was the team’s top player, keeping them in games despite offences bringing their best against the Broncos each night. Hofer recorded a career-high 65 saves in a 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Giants on October 16, 2018. He’d also post two other 50-plus save performances as well as seven more efforts of 40 saves of more.
On January 9, 2019, Hofer was dealt to the Winterhawks to aid in the team’s run down the stretch in the competitive U.S. Division. In 18 games with the Winterhawks, Hofer has posted a 9-8-0-0 record, 3.18 GAA, .911 SV%, and two shutouts. Originally listed by the Broncos, Hofer has appeared in 67 games for his WHL career, posting a 23-32-3-2 record, 3.45 GAA, .908 SV%, and four shutouts.
Hofer and the Winterhawks open the first round of the 2019 WHL Playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday, March 22 (7:05 p.m. PT) at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.