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Bucks to face Suns in NBA Finals after win over Hawks in Game 6 –



ATLANTA — The Milwaukee Bucks were an instant success in the NBA, winning a championship in just their third season and reaching the finals again three years later.

Nearly a half-century later, they finally have a shot at another title.

Khris Middleton scored 32 points, including a run of 16 straight in a decisive third quarter that carried the Bucks to a 118-107 victory over the upstart Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night.

Milwaukee won the series 4-2, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. Game 1 against the West champion Suns is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

The Bucks didn’t even need Giannis Antetokounmpo to lock up their spot. The two-time MVP missed his second straight game with a knee injury, but Middleton & Co. had his back.

Jrue Holiday added 27 points and four other players scored in double figures.

Antetokounmpo cheered them on from the bench.

“One of the biggest things we did the last two games was play for him,” said Pat Connaughton, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. “We do have a true team.”

Trae Young returned to the Hawks lineup after missing two games with a bone bruise in his right foot, but the young star never got anything going. After both teams struggled to find the range in the first half, the Bucks suddenly couldn’t miss in the third quarter.

Especially Middleton.

Atlanta actually had a chance for its first lead of the game when Young’s behind-the-back pass gave Kevin Huerter an open look from 3-point range.

The shot rimmed out, and Middleton quickly ripped off the next 13 points to suddenly push Milwaukee’s edge to 60-45.

Young broke up the one-man onslaught with a driving basket, but Middleton responded with a 3-pointer that gave him 16 straight Milwaukee points.

Middleton finished the quarter with 23 points, nearly outscoring the Hawks all by himself. Atlanta had 29 points in the period as Milwaukee headed to the final quarter with a commanding 91-72 lead.

“My teammates and my coaches, they told me to keep being aggressive,” Middleton said. “I love it. Each one of these guys, they work every single day. Everybody stays ready. Everybody stays locked in. We all play for each other. And that’s all you can ask for.”

Cam Reddish, who missed much of the season with an Achilles injury, came off the bench to spark the Hawks. He scored 21 points — making six of seven 3-pointers — as the Hawks sliced a 22-point deficit down to six in the closing minutes.

“The message was, `No regrets. We don’t want any regrets. …. Empty the tank,”’ said Nate McMillan, the Hawks interim coach. “And they did.”

But the Bucks finished it off, rekindling memories of the franchise’s early years when Milwaukee quickly became the center of the NBA world with a team led by two of the game’s greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

The duo led the team to its only NBA title in 1971. The Bucks returned to finals in ’74, only to lose to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Robertson retired after that season and Abdul-Jabbar was dealt a year later to the Los Angeles Lakers, ending Milwaukee’s run as a glamour franchise.

Now, the Bucks are back in the finals with a whole new group of stars. As they proved in the last two games against the Hawks, they’re certainly more than the Greek Freak.

With Antetokounmpo sidelined by a hyperextended left knee, the Bucks turned to his supporting cast to finish off Atlanta. Brook Lopez had 33 points in Game 5, and three other starters scored at least 22.

Middleton and Holiday carried the load in the deciding game.

“These guys have put the work in all year. They deserve to go to the finals,” said Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer, who previously coached the Hawks. “We’ve got more work to do.”

Despite a disappointing finish, the Hawks stamped themselves as a future force with a young group that knocked off the New York Knicks and the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers to surprisingly advance to the conference finals.

Mired at 14-20 when they fired coach Lloyd Pierce shortly before the All-Star break, Atlanta went on a run under McMillan that carried the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

They didn’t stop there, advancing to the conference finals for only the second time with Young leading the way.

“We all understand this is just beginning,” Young said. “It was fun to have this city excited. We want to keep it like that.”

After missing Games 4 and 5 with a bone bruise in his right foot, Young was cleared to play shortly before tipoff Saturday night. The crowd went nuts when the charismatic point guard was introduced as the final member of the starting five.

“He’s baaaaack!” the public-address announcer screamed.

But, clearly, he wasn’t all the way back.

After a nearly week-long layoff, Young seemed tentative and out of sorts. Sure, he flashed a bit of his old form on a couple of bursts to the basket, but 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting was not at all what the Hawks had come to expect from their breakout star.

“I just wanted to battle and try to fight through it as much as I could, try to be out there for my team,” Young said. “But it was definitely frustrating not being healthy and not being able to give my full 100%.”


Bucks: With the Hawks focused on doing a better job in the lane, Lopez was held to 13 points. … Bobby Portis had 12 points and nine rebounds in his second straight start for Antetokounmpo. … Jeff Teague, who played for the Hawks when they reached the conference final in 2015, scored 11 points in just over 12 minutes of playing time off Milwaukee’s bench.

Hawks: Huerter, the surprising star of Atlanta’s Game 7 win over Philadelphia, closed the season with only five points on 2-of-10 shooting. … Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 20 points. … Atlanta finished 38 of 92 (41.3%) from the field.


Neither team seemed capable of winning in the first half.

Atlanta made only 15 of 49 shots (30.6 overall and just 5 of 19 outside the stripe. Milwaukee turned it over 10 times, split evenly between Middleton and Holiday.

Appropriately, the half ended with Atlanta’s Clint Capela missing right under the basket off a lob pass from Bogdanovic, sending the Bucks to the locker room with a 47-43 lead.


Amazingly, there were no lead changes over the final three games of the series.

The Hawks never trailed in Game 4, romping to a 110-88 victory. Milwaukee returned the favour in Game 5, building a 20-point lead in the first quarter and staying out front all the way in a 123-112 triumph.

It was more of the same in the deciding game, which the Bucks led from start to finish.

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2021 NHL Draft winners and losers: Ranking every team’s first round – The Athletic



Just 289 days after we put one draft in the books, here we are for another.

After an unconventional season spent scouting these players predominantly by video, learning about them predominantly over phone calls and text exchanges with sources, hundreds of viewings and conversations, and tens of thousands of words, my coverage of the 2021 draft concludes this weekend with my complete evaluations of all 32 (that’s new!) teams’ draft classes and likely almost (almost!) all of the 224 players that will be chosen.

That starts with this breakdown of Friday’s 31 selections, offering pick-by-pick analysis of the first round.

This analysis does not evaluate any of the trades, nor the teams that didn’t pick. Instead, it will rank each of the teams that did pick based solely on their choices relative to my draft board, considering factors like organizational fit, the available players, and each prospect’s expected range.

This is also not an evaluation of the total value the teams got out of their pick(s) but rather of the relative value they mined compared to where they picked. As such, teams with higher picks, or multiple first-round picks, are not guaranteed favourable grades.

As always at The Athletic, the ranking will also be sorted into the following tiers:

Winners: Teams I believe won out over their competition with sleuth, home-run-level selections relative to where they picked.

Overtime winners: Teams I believe did well with where they were slotted, even if they might not have picked the exact player(s) I would have.

Overtime losers: Teams I believe could have done better but might, in time, be happy with their pick(s) regardless.

Losers: Teams I believe will regret taking the player(s) they chose.

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Janine Beckie's 2 goals carry Canada past Chile for 1st Olympic soccer win –



Janine Beckie’s two goals gave Canada the boost it needed to earn its first Olympic soccer win in Tokyo, 2-1 over Chile on Saturday.

The victory all but guarantees the Canadian women a quarter-final berth coming off a 1-1- draw against highly ranked Japan in their tournament opener.

They face Britain on Tuesday at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium to close out Group E action. Britain beat No. 37 Chile 2-0 in their opener.

Chile came out aggressive early in Saturday’s match, delivering a corner kick within the first minute. But the Canadians took over possession and produced several scoring opportunities.

  • The first was a close call in the seventh minute as Kadeisha Buchanan took a pass from Beckie in the box. After Chilean goalkeeper Christiane Endler made the save, the ball ricocheted off Buchanan’s arm and crossed the goalline. But following a review the goal was called off.
  • Ten minutes later, Christine Sinclair went up for the ball against two Chile defenders in the box but was stepped on by Daniela Pardo, causing her to go down. Following a review, Canada was awarded a penalty kick. With Beckie taking the opportunity to score, she hit the goal post and missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring.

“It’s frustrating to miss a penalty to be able to put the team up early on in the game, would have been ideal, but it happens. You can’t score if you don’t shoot, so I stepped up to take it and I’ll continue to step up and take them,” Beckie said.

“My job for this team is to score goals. And you know, Nichelle Prince is incredible at putting the ball on a play for me, Ashley Lawrence, Christine [Sinclair], I have players around me that create scoring opportunities for me. So, to be able to reward the team with two goals is great. We came here to win. And so, to be able to help by scoring two goals makes me happy.”

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Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

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In the 39th minute, Beckie got an opportunity to redeem herself, as a cross from Prince was knocked away by Endler, and the Canadian took full advantage for a 1-0 lead.

WATCH | Canada’s Janine Beckie puts home opening goal against Chile:

Canada takes a 1-0 lead over Chile with a goal by Janine Beckie in the 39th minute. 1:22

Coming out of halftime, it was Beckie who struck again, capitalizing from an Ashley Lawrence through ball, getting past Endler in a one-on-one situation and scoring with ease to put Canada up 2-0.

Beckie now has five Olympic goals. She scored three at the 2016 Rio Games, where Canada won bronze for the second consecutive Games.

Canadian coach Bev Priestman had expected a tough challenge from the Chileans, who were making their Olympic debut.

“I think it’s exactly what I expected the game to be. I’ve always said that this game was never an easy game,” she said. “We made it difficult for ourselves at times. But at the end of the day, we could have had four goals … so I’m overall happy we came here to get three points. That’s exactly what we did.”

WATCH | Beckie doubles down with another goal minutes into 2nd half:

Forward Janine Beckie scores early in the 2nd half as Canada takes a 2-0 lead over Chile. 1:13

In the 49th minute, Beckie had another opportunity to complete the hat trick but was unsuccessful.

The missed chance gave Chile life as a Shelina Zadorsky penalty in the box allowed for Karen Araya to score on a penalty kick to cut Canada’s lead to 2-1 in the 57th minute.

Chile had a chance to tie it in the 72nd minute when a shot from in close banged off the crossbar.

Priestman praised the play of Julia Grosso and Jayde Riviere, who made their Olympic debuts on Saturday, Grosso in the midfield and Riviere on the back line.

Their contribution was further evidence of Canada’s depth, which Priestman and her team will need in the Olympic tournament, particularly when they leave the comfortable indoor Sapporo Dome.

“I will be calling on the depth I think, for players to go three nights is a big ask. And we’re going to go back to the heat now, out of the lovely air-conditioned dome that we’re currently in,” she said.

Kailen Sheridan started in net in place of Stephanie Labbe, who suffered a rib joint injury during her heroic performance against Japan. Labbe was injured challenging an attacker inside the penalty area. She was down for several minutes but stayed in the game to stop a Japanese penalty shot. The 24-year-old Sheridan replaced her in the 58th minute.

The Canadian team has 12 members of the teams that won bronze under former coach John Herdman in the previous two Olympics.

Eight teams will advance from the 12-country round robin to the knockout stage. The final is set for Aug. 6 at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

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2021 NHL Draft day one recap: Trades! Trades! Trades! and more Trades! – Pension Plan Puppets



Wow. What a day we had! Day one of the 2021 NHL Draft began with many, many, trades. 12 players and 11 picks – including three first round picks for this draft – were traded before the draft began. Let’s look at the pre-draft trades first:

New York Rangers trade Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for Sammy Blais & a 2022 2d round pick.

Buffalo Sabres trade Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers for Robert Hagg, a 2021 1st round pick (13th overall), & a 2023 2nd round pick.

Arizona Coyotes trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson & Conor Garland to the Vancouver Canucks for Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, a 2021 1st round pick (9th overall), a 2022 2nd round pick, and a 7th round pick.

Columbus Blue Jackets trade Seth Jones, 1st round pick (32nd overall), & a 2022 6th round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for Adam Boquist, 1st round pick (12th overall), 2nd round pick (44th overall), and a 2022 1st round pick.

Columbus Blue Jackets trade a 2nd round pick (44th overall) to the Carolina Hurricanes for Jake Bean.

Also, not a trade but the New York Rangers will be buying out noted racist and hated teammate Tony DeAngelo.

Now, the picks:

1st – Buffalo Sabres – Owen Power (D) – University of Michigan, NCAA
From: Mississauga, ON
2020-21 NCAA stats: 26GP – 3G – 13A – 16Pts
2021 Team Canada stats: 10GP – 0G – 3A – 3Pts
Awards: BIG10 All Rookie team, 2021 World Championship Gold Medal

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2nd – Seattle Kraken – Matthew Beniers (C) – University of Michigan, NCAA
From: Hingham, MA
2020-21 NCAA Stats: 24GP – 10G – 14A – 24Pts
2021 Team USA Stats: 13GP – 2G – 3A – 5Pts
Awards: BIG10 All Rookie Team, 2021 World Jr. Championship Gold, 2021 World Championship Bronze

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3rd – Anaheim Ducks – Mason McTavish (C) – EHC Olten, Swiss Div. 2
From: Zürich, SUI
2020-21 SD2 Stats: 13GP – 9G – 2A – 11Pts
2021 Team Canada stats: 7GP – 5G – 6A – 11Pts
Awards: 2021 U18 WJC Gold Medal

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4th – New Jersey Devils – Luke Hughes (D) – USA NTDP
From: Canton, MI
2020-21 Team USA Stats: 56GP – 10G – 39A – 49Pts

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5th – Columbus Blue Jackets – Kent Johnson (C) – University of Michigan, NCAA
From: North Vancouver, BC
2020-21 NCAA Stats: 26GP – 9G – 18A – 27Pts
2021 Awards: BIG10 All Rookie Team

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6th – Detroit Red Wings – Simon Edvinsson (D) – Frölunda HC, SHL / Västerås IK, HockeyAllsvenskan
From: Onsala, SWE
2020-21 League Stats: 28GP – 1G – 11A – 12Pts
2020-21 Team Sweden Stats: 15GP – 2G – 7A – 9Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Bronze Medal

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7th – San Jose Sharks – William Eklund (LW) – Djurgårdens IF, SHL
From: Haninge, SWE
2020-21 SHL Stats: 40GP – 11G – 12A – 23Pts
2020-21 Team Sweden Stats: 4GP – 1G – 1A – 2Pts
2021 Awards: SHL Rookie of the Year

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8th – Los Angeles Kings – Brandt Clarke (D) – HC Nove Zamky, Slovakia
From: Ottawa, ON
2020-21 League stats: 26GP – 5G – 10A – 15Pts
2020-21 Team Canada Stats: 7GP – 2G – 5A – 7Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

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9th – Arizona Coyotes – Dylan Guenther (W) – Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL / Sherwood Park Crusaders, AJHL
From: Edmonton, AB
2020-21 League stats: 16GP – 15G – 15A – 30Pts
2020-21 Team Canada stats: 7GP – 4G – 3A – 7Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

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10th – Ottawa Senators – Tyler Boucher (LW) – USNTDP
From: Haddonfield, NJ
2020-21 Team USA Stats: 19GP – 12G – 7A – 19Pts

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11th – Arizona Coyotes – Forfeited

12th – Columbus Blue Jackets – Cole Sillinger (C) – Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL
From: Columbus, OH
2020-21 USHL Stats: 31GP – 24G – 22A – 46Pts
2021 Awards: USHL Rookie of the Year.

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13th – Calgary Flames – Matthew Coronato (RW) – Chicago Steel, USHL
From: New York, NY
2020-21 USHL Stats: 51GP – 48G – 37A – 85Pts
2021 Awards: 2021 Clark Cup, USHL Forward of the Year, USHL Most Goals

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14th – Buffalo Sabres – Isak Rosén (W) – Leksands IF, SHL
From: Stockholm, SWE
2020-21 League Stats: 35GP – 9G – 8A – 17Pts
2020-21 Team Sweden Stats: 8GP – 7G – 2A – 9Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Bronze Medal

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We have a trade to announce….

The Detroit Red Wings trade picks 23, 48, and 138 to the Dallas Stars for pick 15

15th – Detroit Red Wings – Sebastian Cossa (G) – Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
From: Hamilton, ON
2020-21 WHL Stats: 19GP – 1.57GAA – .941sv% – 4SO

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16th – New York Rangers – Brennan Othman (LW) – EHC Olten, Swiss Div 2
From: Scarborough, ON
2020-21 SD2 Stats: 34GP – 7G – 9A – 16Pts
2020-21 Team Canada Stats: 7GP – 3G – 3A – 6Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

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17th – St. Louis Blues – Zachary Bolduc (C) – Rimouski Océanic , QMJHL
From: Trois-Rivières, QC
2020-21 QMJHL Stats: 27GP – 10G – 19A – 29Pts
2021 Awards: Mike Bossy Trophy – Best Professional Prospect

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18th – Winnipeg Jets* – Chaz Lucius (C) – USNTDP
From: Grant, MN
2020-21 Team USA Stats: 25GP – 26G – 12A – 38Pts

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19th – Nashville Predators – Fedor Svechkov (F) – Ladia Togliatti, Russia
From: Togliatti, RUS
2020-21 League Stats: 53GP – 9G – 21A – 30Pts
2020-21 Team Russia Stats: 7GP – 4G – 6A – 10Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Silver Medal

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We have a trade to announce…..

The Edmonton Oilers trade pick 20 to the Minnesota Wild for picks 22 and 90

20th – Minnesota Wild – Jesper Wallstedt (G) – Luleå HF , SHL
From: Västerås, SWE
2020-21 SHL Stats: 22 GP – 2.23GAA – .908sv% – 2SO
2020-21 Team Sweden stats: 2GP – 2.40GAA – .923sv%

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21st – Boston Bruins – Fabian Lysell (RW) – Luleå HF, SHL
From: Göteborg, SWE
2020-21 SHL Stats: 26GP – 2G – 1A – 3Pts
2020-21 Team Sweden stats: 8GP – 3G – 6A – 9Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Bronze Medal

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22nd – Edmonton Oilers – Xavier Bourgault (C) – Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL
From: L’Islet, QC
2020-21 QMJHL Stats: 29GP – 20G – 20A – 40Pts

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23rd – Dallas Stars – Wyatt Johnston (C) – Team Canada
From: Leaside, ON
2020-21 Team Canada Stats: 7GP – 2G – 2A – 4Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

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24th – Florida Panthers – Mackie Samoskevich (C) – Chicago Steel, USHL
From: Newtown, CT
2020-21 USHL Stats: 36GP – 13G – 24A – 37Pts
20201 Awards: Clark Cup

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25th – Columbus Blue Jackets – Corson Ceulemans (D) – Brooks Bandits, AJHL
From: Regina, SK
2020-21 AJHL Stats: 8GP – 4G – 7A – 11Pts
2020-21 Team Canada Stats: 6GP – 1G – 7A – 8Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

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26th – Minnesota Wild – Carson Lambos (D) – Winnipeg Ice, WHL / JYP. Finland
From: Winnipeg, MB
2020-21 WHL Stats: 2GP – 0G – 0A – 0Pts
2020-21 Finnish Stats: 17GP – 2G – 9A – 11Pts

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We have a trade to announce….

The Carolina Hurricanes trade the 27th pick to the Nashville Predators for picks 40 and 51.

27th – Nashville Predators – Zachary L’Heureux (LW) – Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
From: Montréal, QC
2020-21 QMJHL Stats: 33GP – 19G – 20A – 39Pts

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28th – Colorado Avalanche – Oskar Olausson (RW) – HV71, SHL
From: Stockholm, SWE
2020-21 League Stats: 43GP – 20G – 17A – 37Pts
2020-21 Team Sweden stats: 4GP – 0G – 0A – 0Pts

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29th – New Jersey Devils – Chase Stillman (C) – Esbjerg U20, Denmark
From: St. Louis, MO
2020-21 League stats: 8GP – 9G – 7A – 16Pts
2020-21 Team Canada Stats: 7GP – 2G – 2A – 4Pts
20201 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

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30th – Vegas Golden Knights – Zach Dean (C) – Gatineau Olympiques, QMJHL
From: Grand Prairie, AB
2020-21 QMJHL Stats: 23GP – 10G – 10A – 20Pts

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31st – Montréal Canadiens – Logan Mailloux – SK Lejon, HockeyEttan
From: Belle River, ON
2020-21 Stats: 19GP – 7G – 8A – 15Pts

32nd – Chicago Blackhawks – Nolan Allan (D) – Prince Albert Raiders, WHL
From: Davidson, SK
2020-21 WHL Stats: 16GP – 1G – 1A – 2Pts
2020-21 Team Canada Stats: 7GP – 1G – 1A – 2Pts
2021 Awards: U18 WJC Gold Medal

Day one is over, after a nearly 5 hour round one draft.

Rounds 2-7 will begin at 11AM on July 23rd.

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