Maine Hockey Journal

How will college recruits handle the big day?

Lewiston, Me– This Saturday, the QMJHL Draft takes place in Moncton, New Brunswick. This is a big day for the top players in the 1993 age group. Darcy Ashley and Connor Anthoine from Lewiston are both a top of their age group but only one of them is expected to be drafted.

Darcy Ashley, 16, is rated one of the top talents for the upcoming QMJHL draft even though he committed to Maine last year. With the Cornwall Superior Thunder of the Prince Edward Island/New Brunswick Major Midget league, he had 25 goals and 35 assists in 35 games. Teams aren’t backing down trying to convince him to go the Q route.

“I have been contacted by 16 of the 18 QMJHL hockey teams and a few have made very frequent contact,” says Darcy Ashley.

Connor Anthoine, 15, a Vermont recruit, has been to National Select Festivals but he believes he won’t hear his name called on Saturday. This past year he had 15 goals and 10 assists in 39 games with the Portland Junior Pirates this past season.

“I’m not expecting to be drafted into the Q, with my commitment the chances are very slight, Anthoine said. “In my case I’ve accepted that the chances of being drafted in the NHL are very slim, getting an education is what matters more to me.”

The QMJHL allows 16-year-olds to be drafted only in the first five rounds. Anthoine also teams don’t focus on the top American kids unless they are sure to head North.

“No team will usually not focus so much on Americans because most Americans are looking forward to playing college hockey rather than major junior, unless the player knows they will be drafted to the NHL which is hard to tell when you’re 16,” Anthoine said.

Anthoine doesn’t see anything changing in the near furture.

“I think most of the elite players that would even have a shot of being drafted as New England players are already commited to Division I schools. Most of us look to play in the USHL or for NTDP, college hockey is something we all dream of doing.”

Ashley has experience the draft process and it haasn’t bothered him at all.

“The process has been fun and unique, something that’s fun to watch. It doesn’t have much of an affect on me if I don’t get drafted, sure every kid wants to be drafted but that just doesn’t happen,” Ashley said.

It won’t bother him with just one team calling, if he does get drafted.

“If I end up getting drafted I don’t believe it will be that stressful having a team in constant contact with me.”

He hasn’t indicated what he’s going to say when the phone rings after being drafted.

“I haven’t really thought about what I’m going to say.”

One of the reason is he believes no QMJHL team can match the University of Maine.

“I’ve looked briefly into the QMJHL and (I) see no organization that can come half as close to the off-ice facilities, the atmosphere and the player to coach relationship. They always strive to make you a better person and player,” say Ashley.

He and his family has stayed in contace with Maine.

“My father was talking to the associate head coach (Dan Kerluke) today (Monday). I e-mail them once in a while, checking-in and seeing how things are going.”

What are their plans for Saturday?

“This Saturday my plans are to unload Snowcrab boats at the Alberton Fisheries Limited. I’ll take a break every now and again, get the laptop out and see whats going on in the draft. It’s fun to look at and interesting to see what team picks players I’ve grown up played with and against,” says Ashley.

Anthoine will also be checking the results.

“I will look to see players I know and who have played against to locate where they were drafted,” says Anthoine.

The Draft begins 9am on Saturday in Moncton. The Maineiacs hold the third pick and potentially the eleventh selection as part of the potential Quebec deal.

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