‘An un­be­liev­able feel­ing’

Three Val­ley play­ers se­lected in QMJHL draft

Annapolis Valley Register - - SPORTS - BY CHRIS SAULNIER KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Chris.saulnier@kingscountynews.ca

Three Val­ley Wild­cats mid­get play­ers – Rob­bie Dowell, Johnathan Pick­rem, and Brady Burns – were se­lected re­cently in the 2018 Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League (QMJHL) en­try draft, which took place ear­lier this month in Shaw­ini­gan, Que­bec.

Burns was the top Val­ley player drafted, cho­sen by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the sec­ond round as the 29th pick over­all.

The 16-year-old Port Wil­liams na­tive, who was the mid­get Wild­cats as­sis­tant cap­tain last sea­son, was also cho­sen by the ju­nior A Wild­cats in the 10th round in the re­cent MHL draft held in Ber­wick.

The five-foot-seven, 141-pound cen­tre says he’s ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity to ad­vance his hockey ca­reer in the QMJHL.

“It’s re­ally a big step for me get­ting drafted,” said Burns. “It’s a start to some­thing big in Saint John. We have a good, young group who will be a con­tender for many sea­sons in the fu­ture.”

Ju­nior A Wild­cats head coach Travis Young be­lieves Burns has the skill and abil­ity to do well in the QMJHL.

“He has a good chance of play­ing with them this sea­son,” said Young. “He’s a very skilled player, great of­fen­sively, and I think that’ll be his ticket to hav­ing suc­cess at that level.”

Pick­rem was se­lected 124th over­all in the sev­enth round by the Hal­i­fax Moose­heads.

“I didn’t re­ally be­lieve it,” said the 16-year-old Windsor Junc­tion na­tive. “Be­ing drafted by the team I grew up watch­ing, it was an un­be­liev­able feel­ing and ac­com­plish­ment.”

The six-foot, 163-pound goal­tender played his first year of mid­get with the Val­ley Wild­cats this past sea­son and was called up for two games with the Val­ley Maple Leafs ju­nior B team.

Pick­rem was also the Val­ley ju­nior A Wild­cats sev­enth-round pick, 75th over­all, in the MHL draft ear­lier this month in Ber­wick.

“It was very awe­some to be drafted by the team I played my first-year mid­get in,” said Pick­rem.

Young re­called see­ing Pick­rem in ac­tion while coach­ing at the ban­tam level two years ago. Pick­rem, he says, is one of the top two play­ers in the league and Young be­lieves his fu­ture is bright.

“He’s a real good, tech­ni­cal, solid goal­tender,” Young said. “I think (he) has got a bright fu­ture go­ing for­ward at the ju­nior level.”

Dowell, a 17-year-old Mid­dle­ton na­tive, and mid­get team cap­tain, was a 12th-round pick for the Acadie-bathurst Ti­tan, se­lected 215th over­all.

The six-foot-two, 185-pound right winger has played with the Val­ley Wild­cats or­ga­ni­za­tion for the past three years, in­clud­ing play­ing 12 games with the ju­nior A team this past sea­son.

Dowell said he’s ex­tremely ex­cited to be drafted by Acadiebathurst.

“It’s an hon­our to be drafted by such a high-class or­ga­ni­za­tion, es­pe­cially af­ter they just won the Memo­rial Cup,” said Dowell. “I am very thank­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to take my game to the next level.”

Dowell plans to train hard this sum­mer in hopes of crack­ing the ros­ter when the time comes to play.

“I am fo­cus­ing on power skat­ing and strength train­ing to im­prove my skat­ing abil­i­ties,” said Dowell. “Play­ing for the Acadiebathurst Ti­tan would be a dream come true for me.”

Young be­lieves Dowell has a lot of po­ten­tial.

“He’s a great kid,” said Young. “He’s the type of kid that’s gonna go in there and work ex­tremely hard, and if he shows kind of what I’m ex­pect­ing he will show, I think he’s got a great chance of stay­ing up there as well.”

SUB­MIT­TED

Johnathan Pick­rem gets ready to block a shot in net. Pick­rem was drafted in the sev­enth round by the Hal­i­fax Moose­heads.

SUB­MIT­TED

Brady Burns, left, was se­lected in the sec­ond round of the QMJHL draft re­cently. He is pic­tured along­side Trevor Ge­orgie, pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of the Saint John Sea Dogs

SUB­MIT­TED

Rob­bie Dowell, pic­tured wear­ing his Val­ley Wild­cats jersey, was a 12thround pick for the Acadie-bathurst Ti­tan.

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