The 2020 NHL Entry Draft will be held virtually this year. Round One will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Rounds 2-7 will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 7 starting at 11:30 a.m. on NHL Network.
After having five players drafted one year ago, six members of Boston College men’s hockey are slated to be contenders in the 2020 NHL Draft. All six are new to BC in the Class of 2024 and include forwards Colby Ambrosio, Trevor Kuntar, and Danny Weight; defensemen Eamon Powell and Tim Lovell; and goaltender Henry Wilder.
Forward Eamon Powell is expected to be picked first out of the newest Eagles. Ranked No. 51 in NHL.com’s final “2020 Draft Prospect Rankings,” the 5-foot-11, 165-pound defenseman could be grabbed as early as the second or third round.
Powell, who grew up in Marcellus, N.Y. and spent his last two years in the U.S. National Team Development Program (USHL) said that being drafted would be a “dream come true.”
“I’m really excited,” Powell said. “Obviously growing up, it’s something you always dream of, and actually having it actually come to fruition, it would be a dream come true for sure,” he said.
Powell said he credits his family for helping him get to this place in his hockey career.
“Large credit goes to my parents,” he said. “Without them, none of this would have been possible. I’m really fortunate for them and all the sacrifices they have made and also my brothers who have helped push me along the way, and a large part goes to them as well.”
Powell’s older brother plays Division III hockey at Wesleyan University, and his younger brother is committed to the Boston College Class of 2026 and plays for the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Powell said that BC has always been on his radar—he committed to the Eagles during his freshman year of high school—and he is excited to get the season underway.
“I think it’s one of those things where a lot of kids in America grow up dreaming to play college hockey too,” Powell said. “That place for me was Boston College. It always kind of held a special place in my heart. It was somewhere I always wanted to go, so when I was offered to play here, it was a no brainer for me.”
Teammate Trevor Kuntar offered a similar sentiment.
“It’s a huge honor,” he said. “I’m just super grateful to kind of have this experience and go through this lifestyle every day.”
Kuntar, a Buffalo, N.Y. native, was a standout with the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) and earned All-USHL Second Team honors this past season. The 6-foot, 195-pound forward is ranked No. 143 by NHL.com’s rankings. He’s projected as a sixth round, No. 164 pick by NHL writer Vincent Z. Mercogliano in an article on lohud.com, which is part of the USA Today network.
Kuntar said that he is feeling mixed emotions ahead of the draft.
“I’m definitely a little nervous,” he said. “I’m anxious to see what happens. I was eligible last year, and I got passed over last year. So I’ve kind of been through that process a little bit. So I’m just kind of excited to see how that day goes. Hopefully it goes well.”
Kuntar plans on celebrating the draft with the people who he said have made a lot of sacrifices for him, as his family will be coming down to Chestnut Hill for the big day.
Another forward in this prospective draft class, Danny Weight, a Lattingtown, N.Y. native, is the son of Doug Weight, who played 19 seasons and scored over 1,000 points in the NHL. The younger Weight is a 5-foot-11, 178 pounder who is ranked No. 142 by NHL.com’s rankings.
“I think it’s going to be a good experience going through either way, and whether I get picked or not, it should be a fun time watching the draft and seeing some of my buddies get picked,” he said.
Weight attributed his mentality to his dad, who encourages him to enjoy the college experience while he can.
“You can do a lot in college, you can change your game, and so yeah, it’s a really important four years. But at the same time, just enjoy it,” Weight said. “You only go through college once—that’s what he tells me.”
Weight said that, growing up, he always wanted to attend BC.
“Just all the players they’ve sent on to the pros and just the history they have here at this program is really special,” he said. “Having Jerry York, a Hall of Fame coach, the best college coach in history, definitely helps a lot.”
Rounding out the forwards in this bunch is Colby Ambrosio, a 5-foot-9, 165 pounder who hails from Welland, Ontario.
Ambrosio wasn’t ranked on NHL.com, but he’s listed at No. 128 as a fifth round pick by Larry Fisher, an NHL writer, in an article on thehockeywriters.com.
In terms of his outlook on the draft, Ambrosio said he is excited for it to bring positivity into these uncertain times, and he is keeping his spirits up until the draft begins.
“I just got to stay confident, stay confident in my game,” he said. “I think with my abilities, I know that I’m capable of getting chosen.”
Ambrosio will be celebrating the draft in Cleveland Circle with his girlfriend and sister, where Powell and his family will be. His parents won’t be able to make it due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Canadian border, though they will be connecting with him via FaceTime.
Ambrosio, who previously played junior league with the Tri-City Storm (USHL), has been adjusting smoothly into life on the Heights.
“The transition hasn’t been too hard,” Ambrosio said. “Just been trying to find the best balance that I can so far to get my work done and to train on the ice and off the ice.”
Teammate Tim Lovell is looking forward to sharing the ice with Ambrosio and the other members of the freshman class this year, and he said his focus right now is the upcoming season.
“I mean honestly if I get drafted that’s obviously that’s really cool,” he said. “If not, then no big deal, whatever. Really my main focus is the season and getting off to a good start.”
The 5-foot-7, 140-pound Hingham, Mass. native was ranked No. 182 on NHL.com’s rankings.
Growing up in the area, Lovell’s BC roots run deep.
“My mom went to the school actually, and same with two of my uncles and her sister, and my grandparents went here as well,” Lovell said. “So I have a lot of people who went to school [here], and I think it’s pretty awesome that I’m following their footsteps.”
While looking forward to making a deep run this season on the ice, off the ice, Lovell said he has been enjoying getting to know the team and feeling a sense of camaraderie not only among the freshmen but also with the upperclassmen.
“Those guys have done a great job of getting us together and having a good time with one another,” he said about his teammates. “And they do a lot of activities outside of the rink or just hanging out in someone’s room—obviously those rules have changed now. We’ve hung out a good amount already and [I’m] looking forward to doing the same thing more.”
Finishing out the crew is goaltender Henry Wilder. The 6-foot, 180-pound Needham, Mass. native grew up around BC hockey, just like Lovell.
“Growing up in Needham, knowing about BC and going to BC games as a kid, it’s going to be pretty cool to be on the other side of the glass at some point,” he said. “And, obviously, it’s such a great school as well, and to be able to represent the school as a student and a player being from here is really something special.”
In terms of the draft, Wilder is unsure whether he’ll get a call or not, but he said he’s excited nonetheless.
“Being considered in that category is a pretty cool thing,” Wilder said about the NHL. “It’s the best league in the world, so even to be in that conversation is pretty humbling. I’m more excited for the other guys honestly, to see where they go and support them, but whatever happens happens. Just roll with the punches.”
Wilder attributes his success to the sacrifice his parents made in helping him develop as a player and as a person, as well as hard work.
“I think going the extra mile and doing the things that maybe you don’t want to do sometimes, just forcing yourself to do it, being disciplined definitely pays huge dividends in the end of the day,” he said. “I’m definitely reaping the benefits of that. Just to be at Boston College too, playing hockey—obviously we’re a historic program, and to be coached by arguably the best coach in all of college hockey is pretty cool too. So it’s just an honor to play here and call myself an Eagle.”
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Editor