Five Nova Scotians picked in first round of QJMHL draft

Geordon Omand
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Nova Scotian native Luke Green goes first overall in the 2014 QMJHL draft in Sherbrooke, Que. He'll play for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

METRO HALIFAX

It was a proud day for Nova Scotia hockey.

The province made quite the stir on Saturday, with five local boys selected in the first round of the 2014 QMJHL draft in Sherbrooke, Que., including first-overall draft pick Luke Green.

Green — who lives in Hammonds Plains and played for the Dartmouth-based Newbridge Gladiators — joined the ranks of Sidney Crosby, James Sheppard, Alex Grant and Nathan MacKinnon, all former Nova Scotian first-round draft picks. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” said Green, all smiles just minutes after donning his Saint John Sea Dogs jersey for the first time.

“It was a definitely a special feeling I’ll never forget.”

Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young described 16-year-old defenceman as a special player with a strong, offensive powerplay and pro-calibre skating.

“He has the ability to skate in the NHL without a doubt,” said Darrell Young.

“He wants to be involved in the offensive part of the game. We want to push offence from the back end and he’s the perfect guy to do that.”

Green’s twin brother and teammate will join him in Saint John — The Sea Dogs used their third pick to take the forward early in the draft’s second round.

Green’s teammate Eric Fitzpatrick — the draft’s top-ranked goalie — went fourth overall to the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

“By far this is probably one of the best moments of my life,” said the six-foot-two, 192-pound netminder, who described Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers as his goaltending idol.

But he was quick to add that his playing style more resembled the Montreal Canadien’s Carey Price.

In a surprise move, Pictou County’s Matt Sartoris was drafted twelfth by the Gatineau Olympiques, despite his No. 70 overall ranking in the QMJHL Central Scouting Registry.

“It shows that you don’t have to be scoring 50 goals a year to go in the first round,” said the towering six-foot-five blueliner about his first-round fortunes.

“I worked my guts off just to be here today and I’m really proud of myself.”

As for Nova Scotia’s strong showing: “It’s just unbelievable,” said Sartoris.

“The Quebec guys have been taking the Nova Scotia, Maritimes spots over the years and it’s just really amazing to have five Nova Scotia guys all go in the first round.”

The two other Nova Scotian first-round picks were Mitchell Balmas, from Sydney, Cape Breton, who went seventh to the Charlottetown Islanders, and Halifax’s Michael O’Leary, who went fourteenth to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Organizations: Newbridge Gladiators, NHL, New York Rangers

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Hammonds Plains, Saint John Pictou County Quebec Sydney Cape Breton

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