Etchegary skates past a bump on the ice

Brendan McCarthy
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After going undrafted, St. John’s native gets a shot with Detroit Red Wings at their prospects camp this week

The Wings were one of several NHL teams interested in Etchegary. — Quebec Remparts photo/Steve Deschenes

He may have been undrafted, but it certainly didn’t mean he was unwanted. Ten days after not being selected in the 2013 National Hockey League’s Entry Draft, St. John’s native Kurt Etchegary nevertheless makes his first step towards a big-league career when he hits the ice at the Detroit Red Wing’ summer camp, beginning today in Traverse City, Mich.

The Red Wings were one of NHL several teams that contacted Etchegary immediately after the draft in Newark, N.J., to express interest in offering him a tryout. That was pretty easy to do, since Etchegary was present in the stands at the Prudential Center along with more than a dozen family members. They had travelled to Newark with some confidence because the expectations were for the 18-year-old forward and member of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts to be as high as a third-round pick in the seventh round draft.

He had been ranked 72nd overall among North American by NHL Central Scouting, but was seen as someone whose stock has gone up. In fact, a story in USA Today listed Etchegary as one of five “risers” heading into the June draft.

It was only after the draft the Etchegary camp realized what might have went wrong, why his name wasn’t called out.

A story by Gilles Moffet in the Le Journal de Quebec provided some details.

It was a health-related issue, but not one  about the arthroscopic hip surgery that caused him to miss three months of last season.

It turns out, that during the NHL Combine in Toronto, tests had revealed an inflammation near Etchegary’s heart, a problem he says came from a late-season rib injury. Clubs interested in him wanted confirmation in the form of a medical clearance, which Etchegary obtained from the Remparts’ medical staff. It was in turn forwarded to Central Scouting, but Etchegary says, because of miscommunication, it didn’t get into the hands of NHL teams.

 The Wings obviously believe the matter has been cleared up. In fact,  Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development says plans are not only for Etchegary to participate in this week’s camp in Traverse City, but also in the team’s fall camp.

“(He) really wants to prove everybody wrong that he should have been drafted,” said Fisher in a story on the team website (

“He’s an in-your-face competitor, chases people down and really battles. He goes in the areas of pain and doesn’t mind going into the corners, doesn’t mind crashing the net.

“At the same time, he has decent skill and is a smart hockey player.”

The five-foot-11, 185-pound Etchegary, who will be one of 38 players skating in Traverse City, finished with 25 points in 31 games.

Organizations: National Hockey League, Detroit Red Wings, Prudential Center North American USA Today NHL Combine

Geographic location: Traverse City, Newark, N.J., Newark Toronto

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Recent comments

  • Brian O'Grady
    July 12, 2013 - 22:34

    Kurt, the teams that didn't draft you maybe regretting that; this is definitely something that has a silver lining to it. Go for it, your father was a good hockey player in his day and also was a battler with skill.

  • Russ Kelly
    July 11, 2013 - 21:27

    Well done Kurt. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing more good news over the news wires! Russ Kelly

  • Mike O'Leary
    July 10, 2013 - 23:09

    Kurt, may you be blessed with great success in your hockey career. Remember everything happens for a reason and it will all come together in it's own perfect timing.

  • Lexi Bridges
    July 10, 2013 - 18:22

    Go Kurt! We're already so proud of you! xoxox

  • Cyril Rogers
    July 10, 2013 - 11:41

    As a long time Red Wings fan, it would be great to see yet another player from NL don the famed Winged Wheel. Still hoping the Wings can bring Cleary back for another couple of seasons as well. One thing's for certain. If he is eventually offered a contract, Kurt will be given every opportunity to mature into an NHL player, with the Wings or some other team. Their minor league and development system is one of the very best.

  • Go
    July 10, 2013 - 07:55

    Go for it Kurt. Good luck !!!!