By Matt Stefano
This past weekend, one former Soo Thunderbird had an experience that most hockey players can only dream about.
Getting drafted to the NHL!
And on Saturday at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, New York, current Soo Greyhounds forward and T-Bird alumnus Boris Katchouk was selected in the 2nd round (44th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightening.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the hard work and dedication Boris has showed leading up to this extraordinary moment in his career,” said T-Birds head coach and general manager Jordan Smith, who coached Boris during the 2014-2015 season. “He was a pleasure to coach in his rookie year and we wish him all the best as he strives to earn a career in professional hockey.”
Katchouk, who turned 18 one week before the NHL draft, had a successful rookie season with the Soo Greyhounds during 2015-2016, scoring 24 goals and 51 points through 63 regular season games, and was named the Hounds rookie of the year.
During the 2016 postseason, Katchouk led the Hounds to the OHL Western Conference semifinals and finished tied for the most goals amongst OHL rookies during the postseason with 6.
The Waterloo, Ontario product was selected in the 2nd round (33rd overall) by the Hounds during 2014, and was assigned to the T-Birds for the 2014-2015 season, where he tallied 18 goals and 45 points through 29 regular season games.
In 2014-2015, he also led the T-Birds to their third Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy followed by their second Dudley Hewitt Cup title in franchise history.
He also led the T-Birds in points at the 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup championship with 6.
During his time with the T-Birds in 2014-2015, Katchouk also played twelve games with the Hounds as a call-up, where he recorded his first two OHL assists and points during that time.
Katchouk, who was the first of three Hounds to be selected in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, also suited up for Team Orr at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this past January in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“I just can’t thank the Soo Thunderbird organization and coaching staff enough for the best development year of my life,” said Katchouk, who played one season with the T-Birds in 2014-2015. “This is the best moment of my career and I’m thrilled to be apart of the Tampa Bay organization.”
Katchouk becomes the first Soo Thunderbird graduate to be drafted to the NHL since defenceman and former Hounds captain Colin Miller, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the 5th round (151st overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
(Photo by Jim Egan)