We have all come to expect the unexpected when it comes to the QMJHL Entry Draft.
Hands down the QMJHL draft has traditionally been a cut above it’s CHL counterparts when it comes to showcasing it’s future.
For the second year in a row the QMJHL draft will be virtual. The league did an incredible job a season ago highlighting the night with tremendous coverage of the organizations, their selections and prospects.
This year’s draft is shaping up to be another exciting night filled with potential surprise selections and trades.
For the past five years I’ve have had the pleasure of watching some amazing individual and team performances as a scout, TV colour analyst for Rogers and as a writer.
For me, it’s been a dream come true to cover the game and get to meet so many QMJHL officials, coaches, players, prospects and their families on draft day and beyond. The game of hockey has a unique way of connecting us all. Every player’s story is unique, yet all the sacrifices are eerily similar considering their journey to this point in their careers.
“Draft Day” is filled with excitement, anxiousness, and emotion. On June 25th and 26th hockey dreams will come true for many young players and their families. The dream to play in the QMJHL will become a reality. Nevertheless, the most important aspect to remember over the weekend it’s not where the player is ranked or drafted, the most important aspect players and their families should understand it’s what happens after the draft, that’s where the real work begins.
Character and other invaluable intangibles a player brings to the training camp ultimately defines their journey in the QMJHL and beyond. Unfortunately, for some those dreams may very well be shattered.
There’s no guarantees on draft day. However, the stories of undrafted players having success in every league around the world are well documented. Those stories provide hope, but more importantly they provide inspiration for players that might be passed over. It’s never too late to keep the dream alive.
As the anticipation, speculation and excitement mounts, it’s evident that the game that so many of us love is in a fantastic place even if the pandemic wreaked havoc on the hockey world these past two seasons.
The pomp and circumstance which has become a QMJHL tradition is unfortunately absence again this time around, but that clearly doesn’t affect the amount of storylines coming into the draft.
The journeys that are so uniquely shared and celebrated by the masses will once again take on a new complexion in the homes where all those hockey dreams began.
The 2021 draft class is filled with the unknown. The organizations that have worked the hardest and have adapted the best to a scouting season like no other will undoubtedly have the upper hand on draft day. Innovation and adaptability has been at the forefront of the scouting world. Rest assured every organization is more than prepared to land it’s next future star. Given the circumstances of the season, there will no doubt be some surprises. Organizations will likely go off the board when it comes to selecting players. That’s what makes this draft so exciting and unpredictable. Every organization will have their own unique lists. Every scout sees it differently, which is another reason why projecting talent is difficult, but extremely rewarding.
Obviously, one could speculate that there could be a record setting amount of draft day deals this June, due in large part to do the return of “normalcy” the entire league and it’s loyal fanbase is anticipating and hoping for. You can count on many organizations going full throttle to sure up their hockey club in hopes of building towards a President Cup and Memorial Cup, especially with the QMJHL hosting the 2022 Tournament.
As far as trade rumours, organization player preferences and which team will take which player, let’s just say I have heard some buzz in those areas, but those conversations are all off the record, I guess we will all have to tune in on June 25th and 26th to see one of the most anticipated and unknown drafts in the history of the CHL.
The 2021 QMJHL Entry Draft’s 1st round can be seen on the leagues Youtube page and in Nova Scotia and PEI on Eastlink TV.