The MHL conducted its 2017 Entry Draft in Miramichi, New Brunswick this afternoon. In total, 120 players were selected between this afternoon’s event as well as the previously announced Territorial Draft.
The South Shore Lumberjacks received the first overall selection by virtue of a trade with the Valley Wildcats. They used that pick to select right winger Stephen Fox of the Cape Breton West Islanders. In 38 regular games with the Islanders, the Antigonish, Nova Scotia native registered 36 points. He then added 15 points in 11 postseason games as Cape Breton West advanced first to the Atlantic Major Midget Championship and then the Telus Cup National Major Midget Championship. IN seven games at the Telus Cup, Fox scored twice and added an assist in helping the Islanders capture the national title, the first such championship for a Maritime team in the history of the tournament.
The Valley Wildcats stepped to the podium next and with the second overall selection chose forward Riley MacInnis of the Pictou County Weeks Midgets. The Truro native scored 14 goals and added 13 assists with Weeks over the course of 36 regular season games before adding three points in 11 playoff games.
The South Shore Lumberjacks were back on the clock with the third overall selection. With it, they selected center Ozzie King of the Dartmouth Steele Subaru Major Midgets. The 16 year old from Halifax potted 43 points in 38 regular season games as well as nine points in 11 playoff games in his first year of midget with Dartmouth.
With the fourth overall selection, the Woodstock Slammers picked forward Jeremie Jacob of the Moncton Flyers. A native of Dieppe, New Brunswick, Jacob registered 27 points in 31 games during his first season of midget hockey. He stepped things up on the scoresheet in the postseason with 15 points in 10 playoffs games for the Flyers.
The fifth overall selection in today’s draft, chosen by the St. Stephen Aces, was center Evan Gallant of the Kensington Wild. Hailing from Abrams Village, PEI, the second year midget player posted 25 points in 32 regular season games with the Wild in 2016-17, more than doubling his point total of 12 from the previous season. He also averaged a point per game in seven playoff outings.
The Aces went right back to the podium to make the sixth selection on the afternoon when they chose left winger Ayden Fillmore of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Fillmore spent the last two seasons suiting up for Rothesay Netherwood School where in 48 games over the course of those two seasons, he scored twelve goals and added seven assists.
The Edmundston Blizzard stepped to the podium for the first time in their history. The team, which moved from Dieppe during the off-season, made Liam Leonard of the Tri-Pen Osprey their first ever selection in the MHL Entry Draft with the seventh overall selection. Leonard hails from Clarenville, Newfoundland and recently completed his first season of midget hockey, during which he registered 52 points in 31 regular season games as well as 17 points in 11 playoff games for the Osprey.
With the eighth pick in the draft, the South Shore Lumberjacks used their third and final pick of round one to take Halifax Macs defenseman Josh Nicholson. The Halifax native posted 18 points in 91 regular season and playoff games combined for the Macs over the course of the last two seasons. As well, the 5’11” 217 pound blueliner has been a consistent physical presence during his tenure in midget hockey.
The Amherst Ramblers selected the second Newfoundland native of the day with the ninth overall pick, selecting forward Tim Noble of the St. John’s Maple Leafs. The St. John’s product has spent the past two seasons with the Maple Leafs, scoring 24 goals and 32 assists in 64 games during the regular season and playoffs combined.
Selecting tenth overall, the Truro Bearcats also picked from The Rock, taking East Coast Blizzard left winger Jack Keough. The native of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland has spent two seasons in midget, posting 103 points in 76 regular season and playoff games combined for the East Coast Blizzard program as well as its former incarnation, the St. John’s Privateers.
It was three Newfoundland natives selected in a row after the hometown Miramichi Timberwolves stepped to the podium with the eleventh overall pick and chose Mount Pearl, Newfoundland native Chris Murphy. The center spent last season with Rothesay Netherwood, registering 10 points in 21 games with the club. Last season with the St. John’s Privateers, Murphy tallied seven times and added 18 assists in 30 regular season games.
The Edmundston Blizzard closed out round one by selecting right winger Vincent Rioux of the South Shore Mustangs. The only 18 year old selected in round one, Rioux spent the last two seasons with the Mustangs Midget AAA program, registering 43 points in 81 regular season games during that time.
The Campbellton Tigers made their first selection of the afternoon in the second round, 14th overall, when they chose defenseman Cameron Crowell of the Saint John Vitos. The Rothesay, New Brunswick native posted 13 points in 34 regular season games as well as a pair of assists in ten postseason games for the Vitos this year. He was also a member of the Vitos squad that captured silver as the host team at the 2016 Telus Cup National Midget AAA Championship.
The Summerside Western Capitals made their first selection in the second round as well. With the 23rd overall pick, the Caps took Charlottetown Pride Center Josh MacDonald. Playing as a 15 year old last year, the Cornwall, PEI native scored seven goals and added 22 assists in 35 regular season games with the Pride. He then registered five points in seven playoff games.
The Pictou County Weeks Crushers made their first selection at pick number 24, the final one of the second round. They used it to select defenseman Aiden Hickey of the Halifax Macs. In 38 regular season games, Hickey, a native of Bedford, Nova Scotia, recorded 32 points. He also added a pair of assists in five playoff games during what was his final season of midget hockey.
Finally, the Yarmouth Mariners made their first pick of the afternoon in the third round, 33rd overall, when they selected forward Daniel Surette of the Dartmouth Steele Subaru Midgets. In 38 regular season games, the first year midget player posted 18 points. The Sackville, Nova Scotia native added five points in eleven postseason games.
The first goaltender selected in today’s draft was Max Walford of the Cole Harbour Wolf Pack. Chosen by the Edmundston Blizzard with the 19th overall pick, Walford posted a 10-8 record with a 3.62 GAA and .886 save percentage for the Wolf Pack during the regular season.
The MHL congratulates all players selected in both today’s Entry Draft as well as the Territorial Draft this past week.
Will MacLaren – themhl.ca
Director of Communications, MHL