Hayes drafted first overall in Maritime Junior Hockey League

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Maritime Junior Hockey League drafted 10 players from the Cape Breton West U18 Islanders.

Defenceman Ryan Hayes of Port Hawkesbury was taken first overall by Miramichi. The 16-year-old appeared in 29 games with the Islanders, recording three goals and six points in his rookie season.

“Every time I’m on the ice, I want to be that presence that no one wants to play against; the guy you don’t want to go into a battle against. You come down one-on-one against me, pick your head up and you just want to throw the puck away because you’re scared. I just want to be that big presence on the ice that no one wants to play against,” Hayes told The Reporter. “I am a very physical player, but it’s not all just about looking to go out on the ice and throw a big hit. It’s more about just having a clean structured D-zone, having a good first pass out of the D-zone, just a solid all-around defence.”

Hayes is as a six-foot-one, 171-pound defenceman who was taken by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the eighth-round, number 146 overall, in last month’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.

“I would’ve been happy with wherever I went. I’ve always wanted to get drafted, so it didn’t matter to me where I went in the draft as long as I went,” he said.

After spending this offseason working out on and office the ice, Hayes will try-out for Acadie-Bathurst, and if he doesn’t make it, he’ll decide between Miramichi and Cape Breton West.

“I’m just really looking to add a little more offence to my game, still stick with my type of game, the stay-at-home defenceman type, but I’m also trying to work on moving the puck, maybe taking it for a skate once in a while, just working on my footwork and my hands to allow me to do that,” he noted.

Blueliner Keir Jordan of River Denys was drafted eighth overall by Pictou County, centre Kevin Walker from Antigonish was drafted in the second round by Truro and left-winger Rory Wood of Havre Boucher went in the third round to Yarmouth.

Drafted in the sixth round were defencemen Ray MacKinnon of North Grant by Miramichi, as well as blueliner Leyton Stewart of Antigonish who was taken by Pictou County.

Centre Jacob Cook from Guysborough was taken in the seventh round by Edmunston, and in the eighth round goalie Jack Milner of Antigonish went to Truro, while centre Bryce Thomson of Antigonish was taken by Grand Falls in that same round.

Goalie Adam Tkacz of Antigonish was drafted in the ninth round by Pictou County.