NEWARK – The New York Islanders liked what they saw in one smalltown Manitoba blueliner so they doubled down on Sunday, selecting Grandview’s Ryan Pulock in the first round of the NHL draft.
Pulock joins St. Malo-product Travis Hamonic with the Islanders, doubling not only the Manitoba flavour on Long Island but also the Brandon Wheat Kings connection.
"I know Travis a little and he played in Brandon, too, so it will be nice to have someone I have some connection with there," said Pulock.
Pulock was ranked to go in the bottom third of the first round but the Islanders took him a little earlier at 15th overall. They get a player many believe had the best shot in the entire draft.
"It’s a great moment. I’ve been hoping for this my entire life and it was exciting to hear my name," said Pulock. "I thanked my parents right away. They’ve had the biggest impact on my development as a hockey player and person."
Pulock’s younger brother, Brock, died in a car accident in 2010 and he was on the mind of the newest member of the Islanders on Sunday.
"I thought of Brock right away. He’s been on my mind all week," said Pulock. "He’d have a smile from ear-to-ear on his face right now. He loved the game every bit as much as I do."
Pulock was one of 35 players invited to Hockey Canada's junior summer camp on Friday and becomes the first Wheat King in four years and the 17th member of the franchise to be chosen in the NHL draft's opening round.
In 195 career WHL games, Pulock has scored 41 goals and 147 points.