With Photos by Christian J. Stewart – ISN

Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Royals franchise now boasts their first ever NHL draftees, as both Steven Hodges (Florida, 3rd round, 84th overall) and Logan Nelson (Buffalo, 5th round, 133rd overall) were selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft being held in Pittsburgh.

Hodges who becomes the first ever Victoria Royals’ player to be drafted into the NHL, is a Delta, BC native in his second season in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He compiled 46 points (21g-25a) over 72 games during the 2011-12 season. In yesterday’s draft, he was the 17th player drafted from the WHL and the 37th Canadian-born skater selected in this year’s draft.

“I couldn’t be happier right now,” Hodges said. “The amount of hard work and dedication that had to be put forth by my family and teammates throughout the years to help put me in this position is amazing. I’m just so thrilled to be drafted by the Florida Panthers.”

Hodges made franchise history in Victoria’s inaugural season when he scored the Royals’ first goal on September 23, 2011 against Vancouver. His 46 point year landed him seventh in team scoring in the regular season before going on to record four assists in four games during the 2012 WHL Playoffs.

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Victoria’s Steven Hodges, here in action against Vancouver last season, becomes the first franchise player to be selected in the NHL draft (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

The 5’11, 167lb forward joins the Panthers’ organization after being ranked 85th amongst North American Skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.

Selected by the Chilliwack Bruins in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft with the ninth overall pick, the 18-year old made his WHL debut in 2009-10 when he appeared in five games tallying two assists with the Bruins. His rookie campaign was the 2010-11 season, the franchise’s last year in Chilliwack, and he tallied five goals and six assists over 58 games. He was also a member of Team Pacific at the 2011 World Under-17 Challenge, and brought home a bronze medal.

With his draft selection by Buffalo, Nelson, a Rogers, MN native, becomes the second Victoria Royals’ player to be drafted to the NHL.

Fresh off his WHL rookie season that saw the centre notch 62 points (24G-39A) over 71 games, Nelson was the 23rd player drafted from the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the 33rd U.S.-born skater selected. His 62 points last season landed the 18-year-old third in team scoring as well as fourth in scoring amongst WHL rookie skaters before going on to record four assists in four games during the 2012 WHL Playoffs.

“This is just a special day for my family and me,” Nelson said. “To see the emotion and reactions on the faces of families and friends when I was chosen is a moment I’ll never forget. The Buffalo Sabres are a first class organization and I am excited to be a part of their program.”

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You can bet Logan Nelson was flashing his distinctive, gap-tooth grin after learning he had been selected in the 5th round by the Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)

The 6’1, 178 lb forward joins the Sabres’ organization after becoming the first Royals’ player to earn an invitation to the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month. Recently, Nelson also garnered an invite to the 2012 United States National Junior Evaluation Camp set to run from August 4-11 in Lake Placid, New York.

Nelson, who signed with Victoria on August 27, 2011, played one season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL where he tallied six goals and three assists over 41 games played before joining the Royals.