Why top Canadian prospects are choosing college over juniors

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Ryan S. Clark, NHL reporterMar 28, 2024, 08:10 AM ET

CloseRyan S. Clark is an NHL reporter for ESPN.

BOSTON UNIVERSITY CENTER Macklin Celebrini’s path to becoming the potential No. 1 pick in this year’s NHL draft is one that’s about taking advantage of an opportunity that he and others like him previously didn’t know existed.

Rick Celebrini said his son’s dream was playing major junior hockey, like that of many Canadian teenage boys. In Macklin’s case, that meant playing in the Western Hockey League, as that’s what he was exposed to growing up in Vancouver.

Then the Golden State Warriors hired Rick as their director of sports medicine and performance. The family moved to the Bay Area, which led to Macklin and his older brother, Aiden, playing for the San Jose Jr. Sharks. Playing one season in the United States presented a development option that nobody in Celebrini’s family had known much about.

College hockey.

“The boys came down and played with the Jr. Sharks and decided they needed more,” Celebrini said. “Now we are looking at other options in the States. They wind up at Shattuck[-St. Mary’s], which is an amazing place for development. Then you broaden your perspective on the different pathways.”

Going the collegiate route has led to Celebrini having one of the strongest seasons by a true freshman in NCAA history. The 17-year-old has scored 31 goals while averaging 1.69 points per game, the third-best rate in the country. Not bad considering he often is facing opponents who are at least 4 years older than him.

Celebrini has already won individual accolades such as the Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards. Now, with BU a No. 1 seed in the Sioux Falls region of the NCAA tournament, he’s trying to help the Terriers win their sixth national title and their first since 2009, when Celebrini was just 3.

Long touted as the best talent in his birth year, Celebrini is also the latest example of a growing trend over the last few years that has seen more…

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Source link : https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/39814315/why-top-canadian-prospects-choosing-college-juniors

Author : Ryan S. Clark

Publish date : 2024-03-28 13:30:14

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