Sudbury Wolves players Quinton Byfield, Jack Thompson, and Isaak Phillips had their dreams come true this week as they heard their names called during the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, said the team in a news release.
This year’s draft was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was highly anticipated and was one for the record books with a very successful showing for the Wolves,” the team said in a news release. “The Sudbury Wolves would like to congratulate Quinton Byfield, Jack Thompson, and Isaak Phillips.”
It was also a life-changing night for Quinton Byfield, who was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Kings.
Quinton Byfield became the highest-drafted Wolves player since Mike Foligno, who was drafted third overall by the Detroit Red Wings in 1979. Aside from making Wolves history Byfield made history in another way, becoming the highest-selected Black player in NHL history.
Following the draft, Byfield told reporters he felt very special for getting into the record books for being the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history. He said the NHL is doing a “good job” with inclusivity, and thinks it would be nice to get involved in that capacity and be a positive role model.
He also said he thinks he can start playing on the national level next year.
In the 2019-2020 season, Byfield played 45 games for the Wolves. He scored 32 goals and notched 50 assists for a total of 82 points for the season. He also played for Team Canada in the World Junior U-20 Championships, playing seven games and earning one assist.
The second Sudbury Wolves player to hear their name called in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft was defenceman Jack Thompson. Thompson was selected by Tampa Bay Lighting in the third round, 93rd overall.
Defenceman Isaak Phillips was the third Wolves player selected, going 141st overall in the fifth round by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Phillips said Chicago was one of the top places he wanted to be.
“I don’t think it could have played out any better,” he said in an interview following the draft.
His plan now is to return to Sudbury to play this season.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Sudbury, we should have a pretty good team. Another good year in the OHL and then who knows after then.”
The three Wolves players are among 31 in the Ontario Hockey League selected in the 2020 NHL Draft, representing about 14 per cent of all 217 players picked in the draft.
The OHL featured five players selected in the top 10, the most by the League since 2010. Four OHL players were picked in the second round of the draft, bringing the League’s opening two-round total to 11.