MHL draft : Edmundston Blizzard selects 10 players

Here is the front office team of the Blizzard who were in Miramichi at the 2017 MHL Draft. Seated, from left to right: Steve MacPherson (general manager), Michel Gauvin (head scout), and Daniel LeBlanc (assistant scout). Standing: Mathieu Martin (assistant coach), Ryan Salvis (head coach), Daniel Gagné (vice-president hockey operations), André Lebel (president), and André Mercure (assistant to the vice-president hockey operations).

MIRAMICHI, New Brunswick – The Edmundston Blizzard is showing up its face for the upcoming years.

About 100 front office administrators from the 12 teams of the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) gathered this past weekend in Miramichi to select the top midget hockey players in the Maritimes.

Blizzard president André Lebel took the floor to announce the team’s first pick, Liam Leonard, a forward from Clarenville, Newfoundland. Leonard was the seventh overall choice. Since the Blizzard had the final pick in the first round (12th overall), it selected left winger Vincent Rioux from Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Eight other players were selected by the Blizzard on Saturday afternoon: Max Walford (2nd round, 19th overall, goaltender from Cole Harbour), Chase Carter (3rd round, 32nd overall, defenseman from Truro, Nova Scotia), Olivier-Luc Haché (3rd round, 34th overall, center from Shippagan), Mathieu Blanchard (4th round, 43rd overall, center from Bathurst), Danik Bossé (6th round, 62nd overall, forward from Kedgwick) and Spencer Langille-Crowe (6th round, 72nd overall, defenseman from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia). Edmundston also picked two players from the territorial draft, Caleb Kean, a forward from Sussex and Andrew Burden, a center from Bedford, Nova Scotia.

Stephen Fox, first overall choice
A total of 120 players were picked during the draft that included eight rounds in addition to two territorial rounds. Stephen Fox was the first overall choice of the draft. He was selected by the South Shore Lumberjacks, a team based in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia (see other text for all players selected in the first round).

Blizzard General Manager Steve MacPherson was very pleased with his team’s work.

“We are very happy with the turn of events,” he said in the minutes following the draft. We had several young people in the sights and we got some very good ones. I would say that two or three will be able to carve a spot with the team this fall. We were aiming to catch several forwards and that’s what we did (7 out of 10 players).

Liam Leonard is an imposing player at 6’1”. He was the most valuable player in his league last season in Newfoundland. He collected 52 points in just 31 games with the Tri-Pen Osprey. According to MacPherson, no doubt he will contribute offensively.

As for Vincent Rioux, he should be ready to make the jump this season. “He played 12 games as an affiliate player last year with the South Shore Lumberjacks,” MacPherson said. Rioux is so determined that he has already enrolled in post-secondary education in Edmundston.

According to the general manager, Vincent Rioux has a good shot and he is quite effective during shorthanded situations. “He never stops working,” MacPherson said.

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Source : Hugues Chiasson, Communications vice-president – Edmundston Blizzard; 506 740-0623 – cell phone)