Four members of the Kelowna Rockets were selected this weekend at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo.
After defenceman Lucas Johansen was made a first-round selection by the Washington Capitals (28th overall), on Friday night, three more Rockets were chosen on Saturday in the closing rounds of the draft.
Dillon Dube went to Calgary in the second round, picked 58th, before Swiss import Calvin Thurkauf (7th round, 185 overall) was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets and defenceman Braydyn Chizen (7th, 204) was drafted by the Minnesota Wild.
Both Johansen and Dube described the draft as surreal, with Johansen attending the event in Buffalo, along with family and friends, and Dube staying in Cochrane, Alberta with his family.
“I woke up today and saw the hat (Washington) gave me sitting on the desk, it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up. To be part of the Capitals organization is very surreal. I’m very honoured to be a part of it.”
Dube spent Friday night watching the first round on TV before deciding to sleep in Saturday morning. His parents woke him with the news he had been drafted by Calgary, the team he grew up cheering for.
“It was pretty cool sitting at home with my family and being able to be selected by the hometown team, I don’t think it gets better than that,” said Dube, whose family lives about 30 minutes from the Saddledome in Calgary. “I felt like if I slept through it, I wouldn’t have to sit and wait for my name to be called. I’m very happy to join a great organization.”
Saturday’s final rounds of the draft saw a pair of Rockets coming off their first year with the team get drafted in the seventh round, the final round of the 2016 draft.
Thurkauf, an import player from Switzerland who played for Team Swiss in the World Junior, was selected by Columbus before Chizen, the 6-foot-6 defender was picked by Minnesota.
“Well that was interesting,” tweeted Chizen after being picked. “(I’m) Very honoured to be part of the Minnesota Wild organization. Can’t wait to get it started.”