Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro are closer to realizing their dream of playing hockey in the world’s best league, the NHL.
The former Penticton Vees heard their names called at the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo on June 24. Jost was selected by the Colorado Avalanche 10th overall, while Fabbro went to the Nashville Predators seven picks later at No.17.
“I’m still so excited. It’s something that you can’t really explain,” Jost said in an interview with NHL media after being chosen. “It’s something that I’ve dreamed about ever since I was two years old, so having that come true, it’s pretty special, and I’m so glad I got to share it with my family, especially my mom.”
While Jost got a big hug from his mom Laura, his grandfather Jimmy Jost became popular on Twitter when the clip of him crying went viral.
“He’s a little bit embarrassed right now that he’s a sensation on Twitter,” Jost jokingly told the Western News while in Denver. “It’s a good quality about him. I’m just happy I got to share it with my family.”
Jost said Jimmy is a father figure as he lived with him in Kelowna while playing at the Pursuit of Excellence academy and then for the Okanagan Rockets.
“He was my babysitter whenever my mom was running off to work. We have a pretty good relationship,” said Jost. “I think he just showed how proud he is of me.”
When talking about Avalanche GM Joe Sakic, Jost was too young to watch much of the Nordiques/Avs former captain in action, but his mom and grandfather would say they would like him to play like the two-time Stanley Cup champ — have the same quick release on his shot. Jost used to watch highlights of Joe Sakic on YouTube.
Jost is ecstatic to be selected by the Avs, which he said has a great program.
“We’re thrilled to be adding Tyson to our organization,” said Avalanche director of amateur scouting Alan Hepple on the Avalanche website. “He controls the puck, has great offensive ability and makes players around him better. He is a good passer, sees the ice very well. He doesn’t get intimidated, plays a big game and plays with lots of heart. And certainly his skill level is over the top.”
@josty_17 Welcome bro !! Looking forward to snapping it on the pp with you!
— Nathan Mackinnon (@Mackinnon9) June 25, 2016
Welcome @josty_17 !!
— Matt Duchene (@Matt9Duchene) June 25, 2016
— Gabriel Landeskog (@GabeLandeskog92) June 25, 2016
Being selected by the Predators, Fabbro joins the team he cheered for as a kid in Coquitlam.
“I grew up loving the Preds,” Fabbro said on the Predators website. “It’s definitely a special moment for me and my family. I’m honoured and humbled to be a part of this organization, and hopefully in the future I can make an impact.”
Fabbro lists Predators captain Shea Weber as his favourite player who he tries to model his game after.
“It’s just an honour; it’s such a great organization, and to be drafted by the same team (Weber plays for), it’s definitely a cool moment for me. I know my family thinks the same thing,” Fabbro said on the Predators website. “I’m happy with this organization; what they did last year in the playoffs was pretty spectacular, so it’s a huge honour to be a part of this, and I’m looking forward to working hard and going to development camp.”
Predators general manager David Poile said the team had Fabbro rated in their top 17 and got exactly what they wanted in the six-foot, 189-pound blueliner.
“He’s a good, all-around defenceman who plays in all situations,” Poile said on the Predators website. “This should be a guy who, if he develops the way we feel that he should, in the next few years, he should be a top-four defencemen and he should play in all situations. We’re not in any hurry to have to replace our current four, but two or three or four years down the road, this could be the type of guy who would be perfect to move into our lineup.”
Shortly after Fabbro’s selection, Dennis Cholowski – also a blueliner – heard his name called at 20th by the Detroit Red Wings.
The previous high for the BCHL was two first-round picks in the same draft. The last time it happened was in 2007 when Kyle Turris of the Burnaby Express went third overall to the then-Phoenix Coyotes and Riley Nash of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks went 21st overall to the Edmonton Oilers.
A pair of BCHLers were also drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft when Silverbacks forwards Travis Zajac (20th to New Jersey) and Kris Chucko (24th to Calgary) were selected. Beau Bennett, a Vees forward, was selected 20th overall in the 2010 Draft by Pittsburgh. With this year’s selections, it makes an all-time total of nine BCHLers taken in the first round:
Jason Marshall – St. Louis, 1989
Travis Zajac – New Jersey, 2004
Kris Chucko – Calgary, 2004
Kyle Turris – Phoenix, 2007
Riley Nash – Edmonton, 2007
Beau Bennett – Pittsburgh, 2010
Tyson Jost – Colorado, 2016
Dante Fabbro – Nashville, 2016
Dennis Cholowski – Detroit, 2016
League alums Mel Bridgman, Paul Kariya and Joe Murphy all became first-round NHL selections after leaving the league for college or major junior hockey.
The BCHL had two more players selected in Chase Priskie of the Quinnipiac Bobcats 177th overall in the sixth round to the Washington Capitals and former Chilliwack Chief Vincent Desharnais of Providence College went to the Edmonton Oilers 183rd in the seventh round.
Written with files from BCHL media.