Six players from Newfoundland and Labrador were selected in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s midget draft Saturday, the fewest number of players from this province to be picked since 2011.
Labrador City’s Mark Hillier, who played two years of bantam hockey in Corner Brook, was the first Newfoundlander selected, in the fourth round, 64th overall, by the Moncton Wildcats.
Hillier, who was the MVP and scoring leader in the provincial AAA bantam circuit two years ago while suiting up for Western, played at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ont., this past season.
Brandon Casey of Grand Falls-Windsor went in the fifth round, 75th overall, to the Rimouski Oceanic. Casey played at Newbridge Academy in Dartmouth, N.S., last season.
Others selected were Alex Power of St. John’s (eighth round, 139th overall to the Charlottetown Islanders), Nathan Kelly of Paradise (ninth round, 154th overall to the Islanders), Kyle Lynch of C.B.S. (ninth round, 161st overall to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan) and Noah Wilson of St. John’s (10th round, 176th to the Drummondville Voltigeurs).
Power played at St. Andrew’s this past season, Kelly with the East Coast Blizzard of the provincial major midget circuit, Lynch with Newbridge and Wilson with Nova Scotia’s King’s Edgehill School.
Last year, 12 players from this province were selected in the draft. There were eight each drafted in 2016, 2015 and 2014, nine each in 2013 and 2012 and six in 2011.
Meanwhile, Alex Drover of Hammons Plains, N.S. was the 10th overall draft pick of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Originally from Port aux Basques, Drover played a couple of seasons in the Northeast Minor Hockey Association before moving to Nova Scotia.
He finished second in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League scoring race last year with 57 points in 36 games.
As well, Nova Scotia’s Brady Burns was selected 29th overall by the Saint John Sea Dogs. Burns is the son of former Mount Pearl soccer star Lana North.
There were two weekend QMJHL trades that involved Newfoundland players and the Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
As expected, centre Jordan Maher of Gander was dealt by Bathurst to the Halifax Mooseheads, while the Titan acquired the rights to 18-year-old forward Nick Gosse of Paradise from the Rimouski Oceanic for a 10th-round draft pick.
Gosse had played as a 16-year-old Rimouski, but spent last season at home with the provincial major midget champion St. John’s Maple Leafs.