Jacob Melanson didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called during Saturday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League entry draft.
The 16-year-old Amherst resident’s name was called 15th overall by the Quebec Remparts, after the club pulled a trade with the Baie Comeau Drakkar to acquire the pick that turned out to be Melanson.
“I was nervous and it was a little scary waiting for my name to be called. When it was I was so happy as well as relieved,” said Melanson upon his return from the draft on Sunday. “I’d heard through my agent that Quebec was very interested in me and another player, but Patrick Roy said he wanted me and that swayed their decision.”
To get Melanson at Number 15, Quebec sent its 26th and 53rd overall picks from Saturday, its second round pick in 2020 and third round selection (acquired from Chicoutimi).
Melanson was confident his name was going to be called and while he was ranked 30th overall going into the draft he cut that in half with his first-round selection. To hear Roy, a four-time Stanley Cup champion as a member of the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, show interest in Melanson was impressive to him.
“I’m really happy to be going there. It’s one of the teams I was hoping to be picked by,” he said.
He was also awestruck to hear comments made about him by Roy.
“It’s really a compliment for him to say that he likes how I play,” Melanson said. “He said he loved the physicality of my game and the fact that I can score.”
If he hadn’t gone 15th, Melanson had heard the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who picked 16th, were also very interested in him.
For Melanson, who was the third Nova Scotian drafted behind Cam Whynot by Sherbrooke and Riley Kidney by Acadie-Bathurst, it shows that someone from a small town can make it.
“Being from a small town it shows you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it,” he said. “All that hard work paid off.”
He admitted it was difficult leaving Amherst and his close friends to play in Truro when he was nine, but said he’d do it again because playing at the higher level helped prepare him.
As for the next few months, Melanson will spend a lot of time at the Proedge Hockey Training Centre in Halifax this summer with other Nova Scotians playing major junior and junior A before heading to Quebec’s training camp in mid-August. He'll also be skating with Jill Plandoski.
He also wants to reach out to the last Cumberland County hockey product to play with the Remparts, Springhill’s Bronson Beaton, who was captain of the team several years ago in his only season with Quebec.
“I have his number and want to call him and ask him what it’s like to play in Quebec and how to prepare myself to play there,” Melanson said.