For the 16th time, the first-overall selection in the NHL Entry Draft was an alumnus of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge after the Colorado Avalanche selected Nathan MacKinnon with the top pick on Sunday afternoon.
MacKinnon, who represented Atlantic in both 2011 in Winnipeg, Man., and 2012 in Windsor, Ont., was the first of 77 alumni who heard their names called at the draft, an increase over the 65 selected in 2012.
The Cole Harbour, N.S., native also led a group of 21 first-round picks who were U17 alumni, tying the record for the most-ever – the 2003 draft also featured 21 first-rounders.
MacKinnon was one of three players chosen who played twice at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge – 80th pick Anthony Duclair (New York Rangers) and 176th selection Jérémy Grégoire (Montreal) both played for Quebec in 2011 and 2012.
The majority of the players chosen were alumni of the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, with five members of the gold medal-winning Russian side selected (Buchnevich, Nichushkin, Rafikov, Zadorov, Zykov).
Ontario, the bronze medallist in Windsor, and Pacific led the way with 11 2012 alumni selected, while the silver medal-winning United States and Quebec had 10 selections each. Sweden, which joined Ontario, Russia and the U.S. in the semifinals, had six players chosen.
When 2011 alumni (late birthdays and players who went undrafted in 2012) are included in the totals, Ontario, Pacific and the Americans led all Canadian regions and national teams, with Quebec right behind.
CLICK HERE for a complete list of World Under-17 Hockey Challenge alumni selected at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
The 77 alumni selected this year mean that since the tournament debuted as the Quebec Cup in 1986, just over 1,300 players with U17 experience have been chosen at the NHL Entry Draft, including 301 first-rounders and 16 No. 1 picks.
U17 ALUMNI SELECTED FIRST OVERALL AT THE NHL ENTRY DRAFT
2013 – Nathan MacKinnon | Colorado Avalanche | 2011 & 2012 – Atlantic
2011 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins | Edmonton Oilers | 2010 – Pacific
2010 – Taylor Hall | Edmonton Oilers | 2008 – Ontario
2009 – John Tavares | New York Islanders | 2006 – Ontario
2007 – Patrick Kane | Chicago Blackhawks | 2005 – United States
2006 – Erik Johnson | St. Louis Blues | 2005 – United States
2004 – Alexander Ovechkin | Washington Capitals | 2002 – Russia
2003 – Marc-André Fleury | Pittsburgh Penguins | 2001 – Quebec
2002 – Rick Nash | Columbus Blue Jackets | 2001 – Ontario
2001 – Ilya Kovalchuk | Atlanta Thrashers | 2000 – Russia
1998 – Vincent Lecavalier | Tampa Bay Lightning | 1997 – Quebec
1997 – Joe Thornton | Boston Bruins | 1995 – Ontario
1995 – Bryan Berard | Ottawa Senators | 1994 – United States
1993 – Alexandre Daigle | Ottawa Senators | 1992 – Quebec
1989 – Mats Sundin | Quebec Nordiques | 1988 – Sweden
1987 – Pierre Turgeon | Buffalo Sabres | 1986 – Quebec
CLICK HERE for an all-time list of World Under-17 Hockey Challenge alumni selected at the NHL Entry Draft.