The Prince Albert Raiders weren’t Nick McBride’s first choice of teams to be drafted by in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. It’s a 1,750-km trip to the northern Saskatchewan city from Maple Ridge, and while McBride will be further away from home than he had hoped, he said he sees Prince Albert as a great opportunity.
With ice time at a premium for young goalies in the WHL, McBride believes he has a good shot to make the Raiders lineup as a 16-year-old, and get major junior experience at a young age.
“That’s the bonus to getting drafted by them, for sure,” he said.
McBride was selected 23rd overall by the Raiders Thursday morning in the WHL’s 2012 Bantam Draft, the first pick of the second round.
As an under-ager, McBride will only be eligible to play five games for the Raiders next season, and said he wants to make sure he’s ready to make the club at 16.
“For now, I’m just focussed on playing to the best of my abilities,” he said.
Still 14 years old, McBride stands six-foot-two and can be an intimidating presence in the crease.
But the real game, he says, is played between the ears, not the posts.
“It’s all mental,” says the Pitt Meadows secondary Grade 9 student. “Good goalies stay clam, and they don’t get rattled.”
Goals are going to go in, that’s a fact of life. But as a goalie, the ability to stay focussed on the next shot, instead of getting stuck on the one that just got by, is what sets great goalies apart.
“I just take a sip of water and try to forget about it and move on,” he says.
Dale Derkatch is the Prince Albert Raiders director of player personnel and said the organization was surprised McBride was still available at the 23rd pick.
“He came into the draft highly touted and was arguably the best goalie in the draft,” he said.
“He’s got good size and skill, and he’s a proven winner.”
McBride is a product of the Burnaby Winter Club and played for the bantam A1 Bruins, backstopping them to two consecutive Western Canadian Championships.
The Bruins were well represented in the WHL draft, with four of McBride’s teammates going in the first round, including Matthew Barzal, who was taken first overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
“We’ve been teammates for six years,” McBride says of Barzal. “It’ll be different seeing him on the other end of the ice.”
McBride hopes to play for the Vancouver North East Chiefs of the B.C. Major Midget League next season, when he’ll take the next step up the development ladder.
“The players are older, bigger, and there’s more travel,” he said. “There’s a lot of travel in the WHL, so major midget will help me get used to that.”