Two Newmarket hockey talents took a step toward fulfilling NHL dreams after being selected in the NHL entry draft July 24.
Newmarket defencemen Jack Bar and Braden Haché were both picked. The Dallas Stars selected Bar 138th overall, while the Florida Panthers selected Hache 210th.
Bar said it is an amazing feeling.
"It's every young hockey player's dream to get drafted," Bar said. "It's been a wild ride, especially this past year."
“It’s something you write down when you talk about what you want to do in your life,” Hache said. “Being able to share that moment with my family who has played such a critical role in my development as a person and a hockey player through my whole life was very special.”
Both players felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this past season. Haché plays for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, but the pandemic led to the league cancelling last season.
"It was hard for a lot of people. I think the biggest challenge of it, and the biggest eye-opener, was how important mental health is," he said, adding he had his own mental performance coach. "It was a hard year, but I think a lot of us came out stronger than ever as people."
Meanwhile, Bar opted to take the ice in the USHL with the Chicago Steel. He scored five goals and added 10 assists in 34 games, as well as helped his team win a championship.
"I feel like I kind of made as much of a positive on this year as I could have," Bar said. "Going to Chicago was awesome. They have a great program."
Although Haché did not get much of an opportunity on the ice last season, he still made his presence felt off it. He is an ambassador for Hockey Gives Blood and started a virtual campaign to recruit new young stem cell donors. He earned the Dayna Brons Honorary Award for his efforts, given to the organization's most exemplary player ambassador each year.
"I've donated blood five times now. It's been such a cool experience building a program with them and just seeing it grow," Haché said.
Bar is moving onto the NCAA. He has committed to playing hockey with Harvard University next season.
"For me to have an opportunity to get a world-class education, and at the same time as trying to achieve my dream of trying to play in the NHL, kind of a no-brainer," Bar said.
Meanwhile, Haché is planning to return to the OHL with the Kingston Frontenacs. He said winning will matter this season.
“It’s a fresh start for everyone,” he said. “Our expectations this year are to win an OHL championship and go for a run with.”
Being drafted is no guarantee of making it to the NHL, but Bar said he is going to give it his all.
"Whatever happens, I want to know in my head I tried my hardest to make it," Bar said. "It's my dream and I want to achieve it, so I think I'm going to do everything it takes to play for the (Dallas) Stars and play in the NHL."
"I've been given a great opportunity. I'm property of an NHL team," Haché said. "My plan is just to continue to get better every day."