Nelson sends trio of grads to 2014 Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament

first_imgThe 19-year-old, who had breakout season recording 21 goals and 40 points in 62 games, followed by a team-high four goals and one assist in four playoff contests, landed an amateur tryout with Carolina, and played so well as the recent camp, Hurricanes staff decided to invite to play in the Prospects Tournament.”I’m just going to go in with an open mind,” Hunt told the Regina Leader Post.”I’m obviously nervous because there are a lot of great players down there. I’m just going to try to play my game, do what I do best, and then see if they like how I did.”As for MacLeod, who played for the Nelson Leafs before landing a NCAA college scholarship, the 22-year-old rearguard needed to wait out the summer before beginning his professional career after graduating from Boston College in the spring.MacLeod, who spent time recently in Boston training before the Prospects Tournament, signed a minor league contract in the East Coast Hockey League but was granted status to play in the tournament with the Blue Jackets squad.”(Playing in the tournament) will be great for exposure for me and the chance for me to see the level of other rookie players,” MacLeod said.The Traverse City tournament, which begins Friday, is divided into two divisions — Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.Columbus, Detroit, Minnesota and St. Louis are in the Gordie Howe pool while Buffalo, Carolina, Dallas and NY Rangers make up the Lindsay draw.The teams cross over into Tuesday’s playoff round.Nelson Leafs president Larry Martel said while NMH may have played a part of the equation to get the three to this level of hockey, hard work put them over the top.“I feel proud because I understand the work, commitment and sacrifice these athletes have gone through to get to this point in their young careers,” Martel explained.“It’s and incredible amount of work and they have a dream and they are doing everything in their ability to realize that dream.”Of course nothing is etched in stone during the weekend with more than 400 players trying to catch the eye of NHL scouts and brass at the Traverse City tournament, other than Hiller working behind the bench in the NHL for Detroit.Hunt is going back to junior in Regina to play for the Pats while MacLeod is destined for the minor leagues, hopefully with a team in the American Hockey League.But one can only hope the success of these Heritage City players can pave the way for other Nelson Minor Hockey grads to enjoy success on the professional hockey stage. The Octopus Thrower website lists five players for Red Wings Nation to watch at this weekend’s 2014 Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament.The Die by the Blade site puts the spotlights the top 2014 draft picks of the Buffalo Sabres in Sam Reinhart and Brendan Lemieux as two players to keep an eye on.The main focus of The Nelson Daily is three grads from Nelson Minor Hockey Association who will also be wetting their NHL appetitie at the Traverse City tournament in one capacity or another.Forward Dryden Hunt and defenceman Isaac MacLeod will suit up on the ice for the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets, respectively, while former Nelsonite Jim Hiller will make an appearance as one of the new assistant coaches for the Red Wings staff.“This is great for Nelson,” said Simon Wheeldon, a former professional hockey player and hockey coach of the KIJHL’s Nelson Leafs.“I don’t think any other time there has been this many players taking part in an NHL like camp . . . maybe the only time was when Danny (Gare), Pat (Price) and Greg (Adams) were playing in the NHL,” Wheeldon added.Danny Gare, Pat Price and Greg Adams all played minor hockey in Nelson before going on to experience successful NHL careers.While Hiller, MacLeod and Hunt all got their first taste of life on the pond game in the Heritage City in Nelson Minor Hockey, the trio took different routes to Traverse City and the NHL Prospects Tournament — an event that runs from Friday to Tuesday (September 12-16) and features from Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.Hiller played his hockey in Nelson before moving with his family to finish his minor career in Cranbrook.He then played NCAA hockey with North Michigan before getting a taste of the NHL with Los Angeles and Detroit.Hiller, finishing his playing career in Europe, coached in the BC Hockey league before landing a spot with the Tri-City Americans where he took the Western Hockey League club to the League Finals in 2010 and winning the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as WHL Coach of the Year.Hunt, who jumped Junior B Hockey in Nelson for a few seasons with the Notre Dame Hounds program, is currently on the roster of the Regina Pats of the WHL.last_img

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