Three CBN players drafted in Quebec league
Three Conception Bay North players selected in QMJHL draft
Three players from the Conception Bay North area were selected in the 2017 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League entry draft earlier this month. Leading the way was Bay Roberts native Dawson Mercer, pictured above, who was selected eighth overall by the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Kyle Petten of Coley’s Point and Dawson’s cousin Zachary Bennett from Bay Roberts were also picked up in the draft.
Just about every young hockey player at some point, no matter their skill level, dreams of lacing up their skates and stepping onto the ice wearing the jersey of their favourite NHL team.
For those with any sort of shot at playing professionally, there are identifiable stepping stones to consider. One of those is the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Earlier this month, three players from the Conception Bay North area — all products of the Bay Arena Minor Hockey Association — were drafted into the Q. Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts, who received a lot of pre-draft attention from scouts, was picked in the first round, going eighth overall to the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
Kyle Petten of Coley’s Point heard his name called in the sixth round, 95th overall, by the Halifax Mooseheads. Then in the 13th round, the Voltigeurs picked up Mercer’s cousin, Zachary Bennett of Bay Roberts.
“I’m very pleased to be taken high in the draft to a team that showed so much interest in me,” Mercer told The Compass last week, sharing a phone call with his cousin Bennett.
“After sitting down for quite some time it was a big relief to get my name called by the Halifax Mooseheads,” said Petten, who like Mercer attended the draft in Saint John, N.B. on June 3. Halifax was the first team to speak with Petten back in January of this year. He played this past season with the Tri Pen Osprey.
Bennett, who is a year older than Mercer and Petten, was eligible for last year’s draft.
“It felt great, especially getting picked by such a great organization with a good coaching staff,” Bennett said.
Mercer and Bennett spent this past season together playing for the under-18 Bishop’s College varsity team in Sherbrooke, Que.
“Both of us were roommates this year, and we’re really close as cousins anyway, but it just brought us together so much closer,” said Mercer.
“It was definitely a completely new atmosphere with Dawson being in my room,” added Bennett, who is finishing his second year at the Quebec prep school.
Zachary’s dad, Bo Bennett, coached all three players through almost every level of their development. He most recently coached Mercer and Petten at the QMJHL’s Gatorade Excellence Challenge in April, where both players suited up for Team Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We’ve had a special group here,” Bo Bennett told The Compass, also making special mention of Shailynn Snow, the Clarke’s Beach native vying for a spot on the national junior women’s team.
“This group of four have been relentless for their pursuit of where they are,” he said. “They’ve put the time into the gyms. These kids have been office training and on-ice training since they were eight, nine, 10 years old, and that hasn’t wavered. It does show all the kids and parents around that if you put the work in, there is success down the road. These guys and girls have been seen beating the pavement here in Bay Roberts for many years.”
At this point, Mercer and Petten are both looking to suit up in the Quebec league starting this fall — Mercer made that known to teams prior to the draft.
“I think they started to rebuild last year,” Petten said of his new team. “So I think there’s a few spots open. I’m just going to work really hard this summer and be ready for training camp.”
Bennett, who was a late selection, is still weighing his options. He is scheduled to attend a college combine in Ottawa later this month. Players with experience playing in the Q are not eligible to compete at the NCAA level.
“The Q is definitely an option, for sure,” he said. “I’m going to think long and hard about it over the summer and make some decisions.”
Bo Bennett will train his son and nephew over the summer in preparation for next season, while Petten is set to work with a trainer in St. John’s several days a week.
“It does show all the kids and parents around that if you put the work in, there is success down the road.” — Bo Bennett
Dawson Mercer pulls a Drummondville Voltigeurs jersey over his shoulders after being selected by the team in the first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft June 3 in Saint John, N.B.
Dawson Mercer, left, and cousin Zachary Bennett played together on the under-18 varsity team for Bishop’s College in Sherbrooke, Que.
Kyle Petten wears a Halifax Mooseheads jersey standing next to his parents, Jason and Carolyn.