Local players selected in QMJHL entry draft

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ANTIGONISH: Players from around the Strait area were selected in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft which was held on June 26-27.

Antigonish’s Tyler Peddle, who played last season at with the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s program was selected second overall by the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Cape Breton West U18 Islanders Ryan Hayes, Kevin Walker, Leyton Stewart, Ray MacKinnon, and Jack Milner were selected in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Draft.

Milner, also from Antigonish, was selected by the Halifax Mooseheads in the ninth round. He said he found out he was being drafted “about 30 seconds before it went on the board.”

“I was sitting in the living with my family, we had it up on the big screen; we were watching the names go by,” Milner told The Reporter. “I got a call from Allie MacDonald, the assistant GM up there, and he just said, ‘hey, we have you on the board until the ninth, and if you’re still interested, we’d love to take you there.’ And I said, ‘yeah, I’d love it, I’ve heard great things about Halifax,’ and so I was pretty excited to get a call from them.”

The Islander’s goalie said a move to the provincial capital will be an easier transition.

“I think it’s great for me and my family,” Milner said of the move down Highway 104. “Hopefully, when I do play there, maybe not this year, but one year, it’s good. It’s close to my family; they can come up and watch my games, and help me out. If I was in Quebec, or upper New Brunswick, it would be a little harder being further away.”

Last season, Milner had a record of 5-9 with a save percentage of .888 and a goals against average of 3.405.

“It was a really a big experience,” he recalled. “I’ve heard about it since Pee Wee when older players that I always looked to moved up and got drafted. Being those guys now is really cool.”

Port Hawkesbury’s Hayes is as a six-foot-one, 171-pound shutdown defenceman who was taken by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the eighth-round, number 146 overall. The 16-year-old appeared in 29 games with the Islanders, recording three goals and six points in his rookie season.

Cape Breton West forward Kevin Walker of Inverness was taken in the ninth-round, number 165 overall, by the Charlottetown Islanders.

“I was extremely excited, Charlottetown is a great organization. In my opinion, it’s perfect for me, and it’s close to home so it works out for everybody,” he told The Reporter.

Walker said he can bring a great work ethic to Charlottetown.

“I don’t think they drafted me for my skill, I think I can put up some points in that league and try to be a complete player; a two-way centre, hopefully in a couple of years’ time,” he said. “I’m a defence-first type of guy but I still like to put the puck in the net.”

Following a campaign in which he recorded 10 points, Walker felt he got better as the season went on.

“Towards the end of the season, I felt pretty good about my game and I was pretty confident on the ice, and just enjoying every minute of it,” he said. “It’s kind of sad that our season had to end because of COVID but we were pretty fortunate to play as much as we did.”

After recording seven points this year, Islanders defenceman Leyton Stewart was drafted by Quebec in the eighth round

Blueliner Ray MacKinnon of North Grant was taken by Blainville-Boisbriand in the tenth round, after recording six points in the shortened season.