by Matt Gajtka
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — With the conclusion of the 2023 USHL Draft on the first week of May, 10 players with BK Selects connections — past, present or future — are now in line to play in America’s top junior league.
“Seeing 10 players with BK Selects connections poised to play in the top junior league in the United States is a testament to the dedication and talent within our organization,” said BK Selects Director of Boys Hockey Chris Collins. “We are incredibly proud of their achievements and the opportunities they have earned.”
In addition to that, two current BK Selects in 15O goalie Patrick Quinlan (Kennett Square, Pa.) and 15O forward Jack Murtagh (East Greenbush, N.Y.) were selected to compete for the prestigious U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-17 team, which competes primarily in the USHL.
These developments raise the total to 12 BK Selects who are now on track to chase their dreams in the highest level of junior hockey the country has to offer.
“Having two of our current players selected for the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-17 team reflects the caliber of players we have in our ranks,” Collins said. “These accomplishments highlight our commitment to nurturing young athletes and providing them with the platform to chase their dreams in the highest echelons of junior hockey.
“It’s an exciting time for the BK Selects, and we are thrilled to be a part of their journey.”
Quinlan and Murtagh will join former BK standout Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Michigan State University) with the U.S. NTDP. Last year, Humphreys became the first BK player to be selected by the 26-year-old NTDP, which has produced 19 top-five NHL draft picks all-time, including five No. 1 overall selections.
As for the BK players picked in the USHL Draft, 15O forward Cooper Dennis (Ithaca, N.Y.) started the parade when he was selected in the second round (17th overall) of Phase I by the Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints. 16U forward Chase Jette (Ithaca, N.Y.) went next, to the Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks in the third round.
Defender Shayne Gould (Princeton, Mass.) was chosen by the Chicago Steel in the fourth round, followed by incoming 16U forward Henry Major (Skaneateles, N.Y.), also to the Steel in Round 5. Incoming goalie Samuel Doyon-Cataquiz (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec) rounded out Phase I by going to the Muskegon (Mich.) Lumberjacks
Phase II of the USHL Draft started with BK Selects alumnus Hans Ulvebne (Oslo, Norway) going to Chicago in the fourth round. The Bemidji State University commit followed up two seasons in Rochester with a solid campaign for the NAHL’s Corpus Christi (Texas) Ice Rays.
Two-year BK defenseman and former captain Jack Henry (Skaneateles, N.Y. / Yale University) parlayed a strong season with the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks with a sixth-round selection by the Madison (Wisc.) Capitols. His Cranbrook teammate Nick Peluso (Rochester, N.Y. / University of Maine) went to the Tri-City (Neb.) Storm three rounds later, cashing in a 41-point performance this season in his junior debut.
16U forward Eric Whitelaw (North Easton, Mass.) heard his name in the 21st round of Phase II, as Muskegon claimed the 20-point man. Defender Mitchell Kneidel (Columbus, Ohio / Dartmouth College) has stood tall on the BK Selects blue line for three seasons, leading to his 22nd-round selection by the Green Bay (Wisc.) Gamblers.
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(Top photo: Jack Murtagh carries the puck in regular-season action. Credit: Christina Colontino / BK Selects)