Halifax's Mason McDonald 1st goalie picked in NHL draft
Mason McDonald was picked by the Calgary Flames
Halifax-born Mason McDonald was the first goalie picked in the 2014 NHL draft in Philadelphia.
He was drafted by the Calgary Flames.
The 18-year-old, who plays for the Charlottetown Islanders, entered the draft as the second-ranked goalie. He was also named top goaltender at the recent World Under-18 Championship.
McDonald, who was the 34th overall pick, said he felt "honoured" to be the top picked goalie.
“It was really cool to be picked by a Canadian team … Calgary is a great city, a great organization,” he said.
“The first thing I thought of is that it’s my brother’s favourite team. He grew up a fan of the Flames and now I’m going to be a part of that organization. It’s really cool to be able to stay in Canada, be a part of that organization now.”
As for what's next for the NHL draft pick? McDonald said he's going to go to the famous stairs that Sylvester Stallone ran up in the film Rocky and reenact the scene where Rocky runs to the top and raises his arms in victory.
McDonald started his first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season with Acadie-Bathurst Titan and was traded to the Islanders on Dec.29.
Brad MacCharles, goalie coach with Empire goaltending in Halifax, watched the draft. He said it was surreal to see the boy he coached for years go first.
“We had a feeling he was going to go high in the second round and when a few teams kind of passed on goalies, we didn’t know what to make of it and then to see his name come up under the Calgary sign was just a thrill,” he said.
“It’s amazing, it’s really exciting for all of us. When you work with a goalie when he’s nine, 10 years old, you’re not really preparing him for the NHL.”
Though it felt surreal, MacCharles said he wasn’t surprised to see McDonald as the first picked goalie.
“Mason has all the attributes that the NHL is looking for now. He's very athletic, he’s very fast and also very controlled," he said.
McDonald stands six feet four inches and weighs 185 pounds and said he has started packing on weight for the big leagues.
Mason McDonald told CBC News last month that his favourite team is the Boston Bruins (currently the home of Brad Marchand, another Nova Scotian), but said he'll happily switch his allegiance to whichever team drafts him.