Twelve players were selected Tuesday night as the East Coast Senior Hockey League held its pre-season entry draft for players not affiliated with the league’s four teams via minor or junior hockey association.
Forward Connor Stevens, who was the leading scorer for the Trinity-Placentia Flyers of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League in 2016-17, was the first pick. Stevens was taken by the Conception Bay Blues.
It was officially the ECSHL’s first draft as this is the league’s inaugural season. However the circuit’s four teams — the Blues, Northeast Eagles, Southern Shore Breakers and St. John’s Caps — were all members of what was a five-team Avalon East Senior Hockey League in 2016-17. They left the AESHL to form the new league in a move to divorce themselves from the defending Avalon East champion HGOE CeeBees.
By virtue of trades made last season while they were in the AESHL, the Caps and Blues each had two picks in the first round.
The Caps’ first-round picks were identical twins Jeremy and Perry McDonald, who grew up in Nova Scotia, but have family roots in western Newfoundland. They were part of this province’s latest graduating class of sheriffs officers this spring.
The McDonalds — both forwards — last played in Nova Scotia’s junior B league.
Also noteworthy are the Breakers’ second-round selection, forward Andrew Paul and Blues’ third-round pick, defenceman Klay Kachur, a Saskatchewan native who has moved to St. John’s. They were both drafted by two Newfoundland teams within a week, Paul having been picked by the Gander Flyers and Kachur having been selected by the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts in the Central West Senior Hockey’s League’s draft last Wednesday.
The ECSHL season gets underway 8 p.m. Friday with two games.
At Twin Rinks, the Caps and Blues will meet at 7:15 p.m., while the Eagles host the Breakers at Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay at 8pm. On Saturday in Mobile, the Breakers have their home opener at the Southern Shore Arena against the Caps. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Players selected in Tuesday’s ECSHL draft, with their former teams listed:
1. Blues: Connor Stevens (F), TP Junior Flyers
2. Caps: Jeremy McDonald (F), Cole Harbour (N.S.) Junior Colts
3. Blues (from Breakers): Colton Stairs (D), Memramcook (N.B.) Senior Acadiens
4. Caps (from Eagles): Perry McDonald (F), Cole Harbour (N.S.) Junior Colts
1. Blues: Neil Woolfrey (F), CBN Junior Stars
2. Caps: Dakota Warren (F), TP Junior Flyers
3 Breakers: Andrew Paul (F), Avalon Junior Capitals
4. Eagles: Jeremy Masters (F), Clarenville MHA
1. Blues: Klay Kachur (D), Drake (Sask.) Senior Canucks
2. Caps: Bob Stead (D), Mount Pearl Junior Blades
3. Breakers: John Ryan (F), Mount Pearl Junior Blades
4. Eagles: Paul Cuff (F), CBN Stars