To help the NHL celebrate Black History Month, William Douglas, who writes the Color of Hockey blog, highlighted five players who could have an impact on hockey in the years to come. Among those named were four former Selects players following in the footsteps of Willie O’Ree ― the first black athlete to play in the NHL in 1958 ― and many other impactful athletes like Grant Fuhr, Angela James and Jerome Iginla. Take a look at who Douglas says is the next generation of up-and-coming athletes who can add to O’Ree’s legacy in hockey.
Marshall Warren (‘01 East Coast Selects-O)
Committed to Boston College and currently playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP), Warren competed in the World Selects Invitational on an ECS-O team that featured eight future NCAA commits and four future CHL players.
“His skating ability is second to none,” NTDP coach John Wroblewski told NHL.com. “He’s a 200-foot player, he’s tremendously active on the offensive side of things, and he’s such a good athlete. He’s in tremendous shape so if there is a situation where he has to make up ice and get back on defense, he can cover ground. His 5-on-5 impact is all over for us, he’s active on our line rush, he’s fearless to execute, he’s fearless to take chances.”
Quinton Byfield (‘02 East Coast Selects-O)
first overall pick in the 2018 OHL Draft, Byfield is one of the top players in his birth year. Eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-4 forward has 22 goals and 51 points through his first 52 games in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves.
“A prospect like him doesn’t enter the OHL or NHL too often,” NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr told NHL.com. “He is an imposing figure with his size and strength, and he’s still developing so he is going to get stronger and more powerful.”
Chayla Edwards (‘01 West Coast Selects)
Committed to the University of Wisconsin for next season, Edwards currently plays for Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“She’s been one of our top defensemen since she was 8 years old,” said Kathy Pippy, the girl’s hockey director for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Selects Hockey. “I think it’s a combination of her size (5-foot-9, 161 lbs.), she sees the game really well, she can move the puck up the ice. She can also join in the offense when she needs to, and she has really good hands.”
Rayla Clemons (‘01 West Coast Selects)
Edwards’ WCS teammate and fellow Pittsburgh Penguins Elite product, Clemons is committed to Syracuse University for the 2020-21 season. The forward has 15 goals and 22 points in 34 games with PPE this season.
“She’s a fast, speedy little forward,” Pippy said. “She’s like the Energizer Bunny ― her motor just goes. She can score, she’s gritty, she doesn’t mind mixing it up.”
These Selects along with many other alumni have played at a high level throughout their young careers and know what it takes to stand out in front of scouts, do you? Well we’ve got five tips that can help take your game to the next level and draw the attention of evaluators HERE.