Ottawa calling: For the second straight day, Sens take UND player in NHL Draft
GRAND FORKS — Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion ran into University of North Dakota coach Brad Berry on Saturday afternoon, June 23, in American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The encounter came after the Senators used first- and second-round draft picks to select UND's top two incoming recruits.
First, Ottawa drafted defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker at No. 26 overall in the first round on Friday night.
Then, the Senators came back Saturday morning and picked defenseman Jonny Tychonick at No. 48 overall.
What did Dorion have to say to Berry?
"He said one of the things that pushed them over the top (on drafting Bernard-Docker and Tychonick) was the way we develop players," Berry said. "With Christian Wolanin coming here, developing in three years and then going to Ottawa, they felt comfortable with drafting those two players this year."
The paths of Bernard-Docker and Tychonick have crossed throughout the years, and according to scouts, they perfectly complement each other with their styles of play.
They've been defensive partners in the past and probably will again in the future as they shoot with opposite hands.
"JBD is a good, two-way defenseman," Berry said. "He's very good defensively and has very good offensive abilities as well. Jonny is a guy who brings high-end offensive ability. He's very fast, quick getting pucks and moving pucks, and he likes to join the rush. He brings more of an offensive flair to the game."
Tychonick and Bernard-Docker first played together on spring hockey teams at age 10 or 11. Although they played in different leagues this season—Tychonick with the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League and Bernard-Docker with the Okotoks Oilers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League—they played together at the World Junior A Challenge and at the CJHL Prospects Game.
They'll both be at UND this fall.
"I think Ottawa did that a little bit as a plan ... I hope," Tychonick said, smiling. "Next year, we're going to the same school. Now, we're drafted to the same team. Coincidence? I don't know. Maybe. We'll see, but we have great chemistry together."
Tychonick said that after he committed to UND, he heard that the Fighting Hawks were interested in Bernard-Docker, so he texted him.
"What are you going to do?" Tychonick messaged Bernard-Docker. "This would be so cool."
Tychonick and Bernard-Docker are starting a run of high-end NHL prospects lined up to come in on defense for UND.
"It's kind of neat, the correlation of those two young guys growing up together," Berry said. "They took different paths to North Dakota, but they're here, they're going to play together and now, they're going to play together at the next level."
Sharks pick Weatherby
UND forward commit Jasper Weatherby was passed over in the first two years he was eligible for the NHL Draft.
He wasn't on any draft rankings to start this season.
But after leading the BCHL in scoring in both the regular season and postseason—and lifting the Wenatchee Wild to a league title—he became one of the fast-risers among NHL prospects.
On Saturday, the San Jose Sharks traded up in the fourth round to draft Weatherby, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound center.
"It's one of those things where our first two guys were guys (Bernard-Docker and Tychonick) identified and recruited at an early age," Berry said. "They were the best players all the way up. Jasper had to take a longer path. You could probably call him a little bit of a late-bloomer. He sacrificed a lot in life. He grew up in a small town in Oregon and moved around to get to where he wanted to go.
"It took him a little longer. It was a little bit of a harder path. But it was nice to see him get a little notoriety today. But as he'd tell you, the work keeps on going. You can't rely on what's gone on in the past."
Weatherby will come to UND this fall.
Flyers take Hain
Dave Hakstol's Philadelphia Flyers picked a player from his old program Saturday when they drafted Gavin Hain in the sixth round.
Berry said he and Hakstol never discussed Hain, but "Dave is pretty well aware of our program, has a pretty good pulse of our recruits coming in, knows what our culture is all about here, and any time you can take a player from our culture and put it into his culture, it's a seamless transition."
Hain, a 5-foot-11, 194-pound forward from Grand Rapids, Minn., played for the U.S. Under-18 team last season.
"He's a worker," Berry said. "He's a guy who is very, very responsible. He stays above the puck all the time. He has good offensive instincts, but he plays a heavy, hard game away from the puck. He's reliable on the ice in all situations. Those are the guys you like to work with.
"He's coming into the program as a true freshman, so it will be a little bit of a jump for him along with other young guys. There will be a transition, but he'll get acclimated to our level of play."