For the first time in several seasons the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers are going into their backyard with their territorial picks for the Maritime Junior Hockey League draft.
The Ramblers announced Monday they will select forward Jacob Melanson and defencemen Matthew Hunter, both of Amherst, as their territorial picks.
Both played the 2018-19 season with the Pictou County Major Midgets.
The 2019 MHL draft is Saturday in Edmundston, N.B.
It’s the first time Amherst has used its territorial picks since 2013 when Amherst selected Lucas Sangster.
General manager Jeff LeBlanc was excited to be able to finally use the territorials on local players.
“This is the first time in a very long time we were able to use our territorial picks. It’s a good thing when you’re able to add good local players to your list,” he said.
Melanson was selected 15th overall by the Quebec Ramparts on Saturday during the QMJHL entry draft in Quebec City.
“Jacob will probably never play in Amherst again but we couldn’t risk him ever playing for another MHL team. Watching him day in and day out for over a month, I see things I haven’t seen in very many 16-year-olds. He’s willing to do things a lot of other kids his age just aren’t and I don't expect him back,” LeBlanc said. “Jacob was very lucky to be drafted to such a great organization; having played in Quebec myself I seen firsthand how they treat their players, the quality of the coaching, the facility, it’s a tremendous opportunity for him. We wish him nothing but the best.”
LeBlanc said Hunter had a very good first year in midget.
“Our hockey ops staff all felt the same way regarding Matthew. He kept getting better all season, he works hard and wants to be a player. He had very good numbers for a first-year major midget defencemen. We are excited to see what he can bring during training camp,” he said.
also commented on the commitment both these players have playing major midget over 90 minutes away.
“The commitment both these players and their families have driving the distance required to play at the highest level possible should be commended. I’m happy to add two quality kids to the organization.” LeBlanc added