Freshwater's Wayne Smith keep his punches coming in Saskatchewan
SASKATOON, Sask. — When Wayne Smith of Freshwater, Placentia Bay knocked out his opponent in the third round of a boxing match last month, his initial impulse was to feel relieved.
Dawson Mercer, left, and Kyle Petten are projected picks for the first two rounds of this year's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.
Two young forwards from the Conception Bay North region are attracting considerable attention less than a month ahead of this year's draft for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts and Coley's Point native Kyle Petten are both ranked among the top-30 draft-eligible players, according to the QMJHL's Central Scouting. Final rankings were published Monday, with the draft taking place June 3 in Saint John, N.B.
David Hibbs of Bay Roberts is meanwhile ranked as a potential pick for rounds nine through 12.
Mercer, a six-foot forward, is ranked 12th overall, making him a potential first-round selection for the 18-team league. He recently completed his first season playing prep school hockey for Bishops College in Sherbrooke, Que.
A former teammate of Petten's on the Tri Pen bantam Ice, the 15-year-old adjusted quickly to his new surroundings, finishing third in team scoring on the under-18 varsity club with 48 points in 51 games.
He also had quite the tournament last month at the QMJHL's Gatorade Excellence Challenge, an annual event that attracts lots of scouts and managers, as it features the best draft-eligible talent Quebec and Atlantic Canada has to offer.
Mercer led all scorers in round-robin action with four goals and nine assists in five games. He helped Team Newfoundland and Labrador finish third in the six-team tournament, collecting a goal and two assists in a 6-5 win over Nova Scotia.
Petten, 16, is ranked 27th heading into the draft and projects to be a second-round pick. The five-foot-seven-inch forward suited up for Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the same tournament last month, collecting one assist in five games.
Returning home last fall after spending the previous season playing at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., Petten had 21 points in 19 regular season games for the Tri Pen Osprey of the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League. In the playoffs, Petten finished second in team scoring with 11 goals and five assists in 11 games.
Hibbs, a 16-year-old forward, suited up last season for Newbridge Academy, a private school in Sackville, N.S., where he collected 18 points in 36 regular season games.
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He also played for Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Gatorade Excellence Challenge, collecting three goals and one assist in five games. Hibbs is six-feet tall and listed at 193 pounds.