Cale Fleury wears his new Montreal Canadiens jersey and hat at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft on June 24 at the United Centre in Chicago, Illinois.

Cale Fleury wears his new Montreal Canadiens jersey and hat at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft on June 24 at the United Centre in Chicago, Illinois.

Two Kootenay Ice players taken at 2017 NHL Draft

Cale Fleury selected by Montreal Canadiens in third round, Brett Davis by Dallas Stars in sixth

The 2017 NHL Entry Draft took place on June 23 and 24 in Chicago, Illinois and two Kootenay Ice players had their dreams realized.

Ice defenceman and team captain, Cale Fleury, became the first Kootenay player since 2014 to be selected into the NHL when his name was called in the third round by the Montreal Canadiens.

Fleury, who was ranked 75th by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters prior to the draft, was the 25th pick of the round and 87th overall.

While Fleury couldn’t wipe a smile off his face after dawning the famous ‘bleu, blanc et rouge’ jersey, he told reporters at the event that he wasn’t totally surprised.

“I actually kind of guessed [that Montreal would pick me] towards the end of the day,” Fleury said. “I thought that I had a really good meeting with them at the combine and I had a good feeling about them.”

Fleury attended the draft along with his family, including his brother Haydn, a prospect for the Carolina Hurricanes who was taken seventh overall at the 2014 draft.

In 70 games with the Ice this season, Fleury had 11 goals and 27 assists while logging top defensive minutes. He was also named the team’s captain in January and participated at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game for Team Cherry in Quebec City.

Kootenay owners Matt Cockell and Greg Fettes were in attendance at the draft along with head coach James Patrick and assistant coach Gordon Burnett.

Ice forward Brett Davis, who was not in attendance at the draft, was selected in the sixth round (163rd overall) by the Dallas Stars.

Davis watched the event closely from his home in Manitoba with his family, but knwe that his selection was not guarenteed.

“I was told that it was a 50-50 kind of thing,” Davis told the Townsman on Sunday night. “I wasn’t stressing too much over it because I knew that if I wasn’t to be drafted, it [wouldn’t be] the end of the road.”

It still felt pretty good though, he admits.

“I can’t really put it into words,” he said on the feeling of seeing his name pop up on the NHL Network live feed. “It was pretty amazing with my family watching. My mom and dad and my two brothers were [with me] and my mom got a little emotional — it was amazing.”

Davis was ranked 142nd by NHL Central Scouting in their final report and was aquired by Kootenay at the trade deadline in January from the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

In 30 games with the Ice in 2016-17, Davis had 11 goals and 11 assists.

Swiss forward Nico Hischier was selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils and Nolan Patrick, the nephew of Ice coach James Patrick, was taken second by the Philadelphia Flyers.

The top ranked European skater by Central Scouting, Klim Kostin, was taken with the last pick of the first round by the St. Louis Blues.

The Ice selected Kostin, a 6’3 forward from Penza, Russia, with the first overall pick in the 2016 CHL Import Draft but he did not report to the team and instead chose to play for Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.

While Kostin performed well in international competition with Russia, his season was marred by injuries and few playing-minutes which potentially caused his draft stock to drop.

Although the Ice own Kostin’s CHL-rights, it has been widely reported that he is not interested in playing for the team.

Kostin told Joe Yerdon, a Buffalo NHL correspondent, through an interpreter that he “will never go [to Kootenay]” and wishes to play in North America next season but with the NHL as his first choice and the AHL as a second option.

Ice GM Matt Cockell told Guy Flaming on the Pipeline Show on June 7 that the Ice had not been in contact with Kostin or his agent at that time, but were planning to speak with them in the coming weeks.

“We certainly think that we present a great oppurtunity if the CHL is a place that both [Kostin], [his] NHL club and the agent decide is the right fit for his development,” Cockell told Flaming. “But we’re in a really great spot. We can keep [Kostin] and his rights as things start to evolve and [also] select two players in the [CHL Import] draft later in June.”

The CHL Import Draft will be held on Wednesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. MDT and the Ice hold the third and 63rd overall picks. Each CHL team is allowed to carry two European players on their roster, with the players being acquired through the Import Draft.

Fleury will be leaving for Montreal to attend the team’s development camp on Thursday, while Davis will be at the Stars development camp from July 6 to 12 in Dallas.

Fleury said on Monday that he is looking forward to the experience.

“I [hope I] can take my experience and help out some of the younger guys that will be going through it next year and the year after that,” he said.