CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), made seven selections in the 2017 NAHL Draft on Tuesday afternoon and locked down their 30-man protected list heading into Main Camp in July. The event took two hours, 40 minutes for the IceRays to make all seven selections in this year’s field.
“We are extremely happy with the way the draft worked for us,” said IceRays head coach Brad Flynn. “We have a three-year plan here, and it changes a bit daily. Today was a good step in the right direction by acquiring character and talented players for our pursuit of a Robertson Cup. Our goal is to make our Main Camp extremely competitive, and now we begin the process of looking for the best free agents we can find for camp. There is a lot of work to be done before we come down to our 30-man list, but we are very pleased with today’s results. I look forward to seeing everyone in Fraser, Mich. to compete for an opportunity to represent the IceRays and Corpus Christi community in the 2017-18 season.”
This year’s draft class had a balance on both sides of the ice, obtaining four forwards and three defensemen to the IceRays protected list. Among the selections, the draft class had a strong junior hockey background between Major Junior draft picks and years of service so far along with some younger faces that could have multiple years ahead of them including the first 2000 birth year selected in program history. In addition, three players have dual citizenship with Canada, and two players enter with NCAA Division I commitments.
Without a pick in the opening round, the IceRays started their draft by selecting defenseman Blake Coffey of Toronto, Ont. with the 32nd overall pick in the 2nd Round out of the Brockville Braves in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL). Coffey, 19, split the 2016-17 season between Brockville and the West Kelowna Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), recording eight goals and eight assists for 16 points with 18 penalty minutes, two power play goals and one shorthanded goal through 51 combined games. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound defenseman is a veteran of junior hockey, playing at this level for the last three seasons in the Ontario Junior Hockey League after being drafted 92nd overall (5th Round) in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.
Mitchell Devins-Cann of Bolton, Ont. became the second-straight defenseman selected with the 40th overall pick out of the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). Devins-Cann, 19, is the first 1997 birth year selected after playing 32 games with the Corvairs and Caledon Golden Hawks, recording eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points with 50 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman appeared with the Shreveport Mudbugs for two games at the start of last season before being released. Devins-Cann’s largest claim to fame off the ice was helping save a family from a burning house in Caledon with a friend in 2014.
The first forward drafted by the IceRays came in the third round with the selection of Chris Smith from St. Bruno de Montarville, Que. at 63rd overall out of the Hawkesbury Hawks (CCHL). Smith, 19, played 44 games with the Hawks in 2016-17, recording 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points with 20 penalty minutes, five power play goals and five game-winning goals. The dual Canadian and Swiss citizen already enters his final junior season with a NCAA Division I commitment to Mercyhurst University, the same program former forward Nathan Bryer will attend this fall. The 5-foot-9, 187-pound forward owns 100 points (50 goals, 50 assists) and 12 power play goals over his last two seasons with Hawkesbury through 97 games. Smith will also celebrate his 20th birthday on Sunday.
The IceRays went back to defense in selecting Jack Tucker of Tampa Bay, Fla. at 87th overall in the 4th Round from the Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL). Tucker, 17, became the first 2000 birth year drafted by the IceRays in program history and the youngest player in the draft, just celebrating his birthday in late May. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound defenseman played 54 games with the Jr. Sabres last year, recording 16 assists with 14 penalty minutes in his first junior season after developing through the Buffalo pipeline. Tucker is a prospect of the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and was selected 278th overall (14th Round) in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada.
After an absence of picks in the 5th Round, the IceRays came back with two forwards in the 6th Round starting with Jack McDonough of Doylestown, Pa. at 134th overall from the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (T1EHL & AYHL). McDonough, 19, played 48 games with the Jr. Flyers during the 2016-17 season and was the team’s captain, recording 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points with 54 penalty minutes, 3 power play goals, one shorthanded goal and four game-winning goals. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward made his NAHL debut with the Johnstown Tomahawks in 2015-16, playing four games after being drafted 75th overall in the 2015 NAHL Draft. The 1998 birth year is also a multi-sport athlete, utilizing versatility both in hockey and track.
Noah Roofe of St. Louis, Mo. was selected 138th overall out of the St. Louis AAA Blues U18 (T1EHL) and Christian Brothers College High School. Roofe, 18, played 32 games in the T1EHL last season, earning seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points with 20 penalty minutes, one power play goal, and two game-winning goals. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound forward was teammate of IceRays tender Bud Winter in St. Louis and worked together as an alternate captain to help lead the Cadets to a Mid-States Challenge Cup Championship for the fourth-straight year. Roofe becomes the fourth player from the greater St. Louis area this year to become associated with the IceRays, joining defensemen Christian Dahl (tender) and Trevor Wilhelm (tender and call-up) as well as Winter.
The final selection for the IceRays came at 157th overall in the 7th Round, taking forward Brent Hill of Lunenburg, Ma. from the Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL). Hill, 19, already comes in with a NCAA Division I commitment to the University of Maine and played 39 games with the Canadians last season, earning 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points with 10 penalty minutes, three power play goals and three game-winning goals. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound forward also tacked on ten points in 16 games en route to a CCHL Championship. Hill was formerly drafted 217th overall (12th Round) by Rimouski Océanic in the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Draft.
Listed below are all of the 2016 IceRays Draft Picks organized by round order:
2nd Round (32nd overall): Blake Coffey (D) – Toronto, Ont. – Brockville Braves (CCHL)
2nd Round (40th overall): Mitchell Devins-Cann (D) – Bolton, Ont. – Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs (GOJHL)
3rd Round (63rd overall): Chris Smith (F) – St. Bruno de Montarville, P.Q. – Hawkesbury Hawks (CCHL)
4th Round (87th overall): Jack Tucker (D) – Tampa Bay, Fla. – Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
6th Round (134th overall): Jack McDonough (F) – Doylestown, Pa. – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (AYHL/T1EHL)
6th Round (138th overall): Noah Roofe (F) – St. Louis, Mo. – St. Louis AAA Blues U18 (T1EHL)
7th Round (157th overall): Brent Hill (F) – Lunenburg, Mass. – Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)
All selections are invited to the 2017 IceRays Main Camp in July along with those that may not have been granted a selection.
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