Miles Gendron got the best 18th birthday gift a hockey player could ever ask for, his name called at the NHL Draft.
“It is a pretty incredible birthday present, love it,” said Gendron, in a press conference following the draft in Philadelphia.
The forward, who will join the Penticton Vees for the 2014-15 season, after playing high school hockey in Massachusetts, was selected in the third round, 70th overall, by the Ottawa Senators. He was sitting with his family in the audience when he heard his name called.
“It’s pretty crazy I didn’t see it coming. It is just an unbelievable experience,” said Gendron, who will join the University of Connecticut Huskies after his year with the Vees.
The puck-carrying defence man played for Rivers School in Massachusetts last season where he was named the Independent School League’s 2013-14 MVP, won the Sportsmanship award and was named a league all-star. He also won the John Carlton Award, given annually by the Boston Bruins to the best senior boy’s hockey player in Eastern Massachusetts.
Gendron will carry on the Vees tradition of defencemen who like to jump up into the play and produce points.
“Duncan Keith played there, Mike Reilly who was a draft pick and I know they have a good history of offensive defencemen, so I am looking forward to getting out there this summer,” said Gendron of the Vees.
On the Senators website regional scout for the team Bob Janecyk commented on Gendron.
“We’re really excited about the upside and potential of this kid. He’s playing in prep school, he’s young, he’s raw. he’s an elite skater with terrific hands and vision as an offensive, puck moving defence man,” said Janecyk.
Another Vee also had his name called at the NHL Draft, held in Philadelphia on Friday. Jack Ramsey was taken in the seventh round, 208th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. Unsure when, or if, he would be drafted the Vees forward decided to stay glued to his TV at home in Minnesota to see how things played out.
“I was pretty excited, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get drafted or not but I had butterflies leading up to it thinking about the possibilities,” said Ramsay, who is the son of former NHL defenceman Mike Ramsey. “My family was watching with me and were freaking out a little bit. It was exciting for everyone. I think my mom had the most excitement she was jumping up and down, screaming and shouting.”
In an early draft report in September by TSN, Ramsey was listed among the top players eligible for the NHL Draft.
“When I saw my name come up it was surreal. Chicago called me and we had a short conversation. The whole moment went by in a blur,” said Ramsey. “I didn’t think I was going to get picked and the fact that an organization like the Hawks called it was pretty cool.”
Next month he will attend the Blackhawks prospect camp. Ramsey said playing with the Vees has improved both his physical game and in the defensive department.
“I want to have a good defensive impact this year and play a lot on the penalty kill. Hopefully I can increase my offensive support for the team and put up some bigger numbers than last year,” said Ramsey.
The returning Vees player said he is looking to become a leader on the team this season.
“Today was the culmination of the hard work Jack put it last year, as he constantly improved his game throughout the season,” Vees coach Fred Harbinson said in a statement.
“He finished on a high note in the playoffs and we expect him to be a key piece to our leadership group next season.”