Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
The BCHL’s coverage of the 2023 NHL Draft is presented by Chevrolet.
The 2023 NHL Entry Draft concluded today and nine BCHL players heard their names called over the two-day event.
After Victoria Grizzlies alumnus and University of Connecticut forward Matthew Wood and Penticton Vees forward Bradly Nadeau were selected in the first round yesterday, another seven were chosen today, including three current BCHLers, one league alumnus and another three recruits set to play for BCHL teams in 2023-24.
Aydar Suniev (Penticton Vees) – Round 3 (80th overall), Calgary Flames
Suniev was the first BCHL player taken on Day 2 of the draft. The Vees standout tied for the league lead with 45 goals last year and was the third highest scorer in the BCHL with 90 points. He was also the second player from the 2022-23 Fred Page Cup champion Vees to get selected after Bradly Nadeau went in the first round.
After winning back-to-back BCHL titles, Suniev will play at the University of Massachusetts next year.
“Watching [Bradly] get drafted yesterday by Carolina, then hearing my name today, it’s been amazing. I’m honoured to be a part of the Calgary Flames.”
Hoyt Stanley (Victoria Grizzlies) – Round 4 (108th overall), Ottawa Senators
Stanley was the first defenceman taken out of the BCHL in this year’s draft, which came as no surprised as he was also the highest ranked blueliner from the league coming in. After missing the majority of the 2021-22 season with an injury, Stanley had a highly productive 2022-23 campaign, leading the Grizzlies in points from the back end with 38 points in 53 games, good enough for eighth among all BCHL defenders.
Next year, he will play his freshman season at Cornell University.
“The BCHL was a great league for me. I was able to be in the weight room four times a week and have great practices. It was a great route for me and I’d recommend it to anyone. I really enjoyed my time in the BCHL.”
Larry Keenan (Culver Military Academy/Penticton Vees) – Round 4 (117th overall), Detroit Red Wings
The first of the new recruits to get selected, Keenan was taken in the fourth round by the Detroit Red Wings. The 2005-born defenceman is committed to play for the Penticton Vees in 2023-24. Last year at Culver Military Academy, Keenan put up 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points in 49 games.
He is committed to play at the University of Massachusetts after his junior career.
Charles-Alexis Legault (Quinnipiac University/West Kelowna Warriors) – Round 5 (139th overall), Carolina Hurricanes
Legault is the second BCHL player taken in 2023 by the Hurricanes after Nadeau went there in Round 1. Legault played his freshman year at Quinnipiac University last year, suiting up for 40 games and winning a national championship in April.
The 19-year-old played the 2021-22 campaign with the West Kelowna Warriors and had 18 points in 36 regular season games and was a point-per-game player in 11 postseason contests.
He will return to Quinnipiac for his sophomore year in the fall.
Ryan MacPherson (Leamington Flyers/Penticton Vees) – Round 6 (172nd overall), Philadelphia Flyers
MacPherson put up great numbers with Leamington of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League last year, notching 61 points in 49 games to finish second in team scoring. Him and his twin brother Connor, who was ranked but went undrafted, are both committed to the Penticton Vees next season.
Beyond the BCHL, the brothers will play their NCAA Division I hockey at the University of New Hampshire.
Owen Beckner (Salmon Arm Silverbacks) – Round 7 (204th overall), Ottawa Senators
Beckner was the final current BCHL player selected when the Senators took him in the seventh round. The Victoria, B.C. product had a great year for Salmon Arm in 2022-23, piling up 50 points in 53 games to tie for the team lead in scoring, a 40-point improvement from his rookie season.
He is returning to the Silverbacks next year, but is committed to Colorado College beyond that.
“Getting drafted was a dream come true for myself and my family. I’m so grateful to be selected by such an amazing organization like Ottawa. I’ve been working my whole life for moments like this and to have it happen feels incredible. The real work begins now.”
Vladimir Nikitin (Barys Astana U20/Chilliwack Chiefs) – Round 7 (207th overall), Ottawa Senators
Nikitin is a Kazakhstan born netminder who had a .921 save percentage in 24 games playing U20 in his home country for Barys Astana last year.