Two Ottawa-area hockey players are heading to the NHL
Mason McTavish of Carp, Ont., and Brandt Clarke of Nepean, Ont., selected early in NHL draft
Two young hockey players from the Ottawa area are heading to the big league after being selected in the NHL entry draft Friday.
Mason McTavish of Carp, Ont., was selected third overall by the Anaheim Ducks, and defenceman Brandt Clarke of Nepean, Ont., was picked eighth overall by the Los Angeles Kings.
"Obviously, I was super happy for myself, and … my family was super proud of me," McTavish said in a press conference following his selection Friday. "Right now I'm just enjoying the moment."
McTavish, who plays centre, was born in Zürich, Switzerland, but moved to Canada at eight years old and spent his junior hockey career playing with the Ottawa Valley Titans and Pembroke Lumber Kings.
With Canada's U18 team last year, he racked up five goals and 11 points in seven games.
McTavish credited growing up in a household of athletes with giving him the "competitive edge" necessary to go early in the draft.
McTavish, Clarke 'great buddies'
McTavish said he is "great buddies" with fellow Ottawa draftee Clarke from their time playing junior hockey in the valley.
"He's a great player, super smart," he said. "I think he'll be a great defenceman in the NHL one day."
Clarke, born and raised in Nepean, got his start with the Nepean Raiders, but spent most of his junior career playing for teams in the Toronto area.
Clarke told CBC getting called up to the NHL was "the ultimate dream of my entire life."
"Every kid dreams of that," he said. "I'm really looking forward to getting started."
"It's just one milestone on Brandt's journey, but it's a day he'll never forget," Brandt's father, Chris, said of the draft. "And today, our family will never forget."
Chris said his family was "anxious" and "nervous" during the draft, but they had been through it once before — Brandt's brother, Graeme, was drafted two years ago by the New Jersey Devils.
"We always pushed each other ... I don't think I would be where I am without him, and I don't think he'd be where he is without me," Brandt said.
"It's a dream come true for our entire family."
Brandt said he got a lot of support from family and friends in Ottawa during the draft, and called Ottawa a "great hockey town … [with] great minor hockey systems."
"I'm really proud that I can represent the city," he said.
The Ottawa Senators picked tenth in the first round, but they opted for an American — Boston University right winger Tyler Boucher.