Four Selects alums made the trip to China with the Boston Bruins for two preseason games this week, as part of the NHL’s efforts to help grow the game of hockey throughout Asia. Among the 40-plus players combined between the Bruins and Calgary Flames were former Selects players Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril.
Donato, a member of the ‘96 Cougars Selects team, made his NHL debut last March after being selected in the second round of the 2014 Draft. He picked up an assist in the Bruins’ second preseason game on Wednesday.
A former Boston University alternate captain and member of our ‘96 Sweden Selects, Forsbacka-Karlsson is slated to join the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence this season but has already made a splash in preseason. Nicknamed “JFK”, the 2015 second round draft pick chipped in an assist on Boston’s second goal against the Flames.
Vaakanainen(18th 2017) and Zboril (13th 2015) both helped man the blue line for the Bruins while in China. Both are former first-round picks of Boston with Zboril going 13th overall in 2015 and Vaakanainen 18th overall in the 2017 Draft. Both also played prominent roles on European Selects teams, Vaakanainen with ‘99 Finland and Zboril with ‘97 Czech teams.
With more than 250 alums currently active in NHL organizations, the Selects Hockey presence at the world’s highest level grows stronger with each passing year. To find out more about who some of our other prominent alums are, click HERE for a comprehensive list of NHL and NCAA Selects players.