Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
The BCHL’s coverage of the 2023 NHL Draft is presented by Chevrolet.
Victoria Grizzlies alumnus and current University of Connecticut forward Matthew Wood and Penticton Vees forward Bradly Nadeau were selected in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft.
Wood was taken 15th overall by the Nashville Predators, while Nadeau went 30th to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Despite being the youngest player in college hockey last year and making the step up to the NCAA in his 17-year-old season, Wood finished at nearly a point-per-game pace with 34 points in 35 games and was voted to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team at year’s end.
The Nanaimo product played the previous two years in the BCHL with the Grizzlies. In his second season, he led the league with 45 goals and 85 points in 46 regular-season contests.
“I really loved my time in Victoria,” he said. “I had some really great years there. Those seasons really helped prepare me for college. I’m really grateful to that organization, my coaches and my teammates, all the experiences I had there.”
Nadeau also played two years in the BCHL with the Vees, alongside his older brother Josh, and won back-to-back Fred Page Cup championships. In 2022-23, he led the league in points (113) and assists (68) and tied for the most goals (45). He was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player as well as playoff MVP.
“I wanted the exposure [of playing in the BCHL] during my two years of junior hockey, so that’s why I ended up going there,” said Nadeau. “Playing two years with [my brother] in Penticton and having him here while I’m going through this process is amazing. Hopefully he’ll be able to get drafted as well.”
- The two first-round picks are the most the BCHL has had in one year since 2016 when three players were taken
- There have now been seven BCHL players selected in the first round since 2016
- Wood is the highest drafted BCHL player since Kent Johnson was taken fifth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2021
- Wood is the first Grizzlies player to be selected in the first round since Alex Newhook (Colorado) in 2019
- Nadeau is the first Vees player to be selected in the first round since Tyson Jost (Colorado) and Dante Fabbro (Nashville) in 2016
- Nashville most recently selected Alexander Campbell (Victoria) out of the BCHL in 2019
- Carolina most recently selected Kevin Wall (Chilliwack) and Massimo Rizzo (Penticton/Coquitlam) out of the BCHL in 2019
Rounds 2-7 of the draft go tomorrow in Nashville, Tenn., starting at 8 a.m. PT.