2010-11: Aaron Irving made his midget hockey debut — scoring a goal with an assist in his only game with the SSAC Bulldogs midget minor team — and played for the SSAC Lions bantam AAA team in Edmonton. He competed for Edmonton South Bruins in the Alberta Cup – scoring one goal and finishing with 10 penalty minutes in five games. Irving was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
2011-12: Irving skated for the SSAC Athletics in the Alberta Midget Hockey League as a 15-year-old and played for Team Alberta in the 2011 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup. He scored 3 goals with 15 assists and had 80 penalty minutes in 31 AMHL games. The Athletics finished fifth in the Dodge Division. Irving scored one goal for Team Alberta.
2012-13: Irving made his WHL debut with Edmonton in September and skated in four more games with the Oil Kings over the holidays — spending most of the season with the junior A Bonnyville Pontiacs in the AJHL. He had no points and was +2 with 6 penalty minutes in five WHL games. Irving scored 1 goal with 6 assists and had 57 penalty minutes in 43 regular season games for Bonnyville. The Pontiacs finished third in the North Division and lost to Whitecourt in the second round. Irving had no points and 11 penalty minutes in nine playoff games.
2013-14: Irving joined the Oil Kings for his first full season and worked his way into a full-time role on the Memorial Cup champions. In 63 regular games he scored 9 goals with 21 assists and was +26 with 88 penalty minutes; fourth most on the team. Edmonton finished second to Calgary in the Central Division based on tiebreakers but rolled through the playoffs. The Oil Kings avenged a loss to Portland in the 2013 WHL Finals to reach the Memorial Cup. Irving had 2 assists and was +1 with 10 penalty minutes in 20 playoff games. The Oil Kings lost two of three games in the round robin portion of the Memorial Cup but defeated Val-d’Or in triple overtime in a semifinal game and topped Guelph to capture the championship. Irving was minus-4 with no points and 2 penalty minutes in five Memorial Cup games. He was selected for Team Cherry in the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and was ranked 90th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings. Nashville selected Irving in the sixth round (162nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Irving possesses “stay-at-home” attributes. Not shy of physical play. Looked upon to settle things down in defensive zone. Moves puck well up ice. Trusted by coaching staff during key minutes late in games.
Irving is a heart-on-his-sleeve, team-first defender who is a positive presence in the locker room. A bit overwhelmed at times by faster and more-skilled forwards, he must continue to develop all aspects of his game to play at the next level.
Irving will return to Edmonton for his second WHL season in the fall and will likely assume a larger role for the Oil Kings as players like Keegan Lowe (CAR) and Griffin Reinhart (NYI) move on to pro hockey. As with any late round pick, his NHL future is far from certain but his tenacity and competitiveness are positives. He must continue to develop his speed, strength, technical and tactical skills and will likely spend time at the minor league level after completing his junior career.