Getting drafted a “dream come true” for newest Eagle MacLeod

Enfield's Connor MacLeod hoists the Atlantic Major Midget championship after his Newbridge Gladiators win in Kensington, P.E.I. (Photo submitted to The Weekly Press and used April 15.)

(This story is written by Pat Healey for The Weekly Press, June 17 issue, and for The Q News).

ENFIELD: Just minutes after hearing his name called at the QMJHL draft on June 6, Connor MacLeod was still trying to digest what had just happened.

The six-foot, 195-pound Enfield native had just been taken by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 10th round, 164th overall, of the 14-round Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Entry Draft, held in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Reached at his home after his name was announced and posted on the draft page of the QMJHL website, MacLeod was still coming to terms with news he was now a Screaming Eagle.

“It’s a privilege,” said the Dartmouth Newbridge Gladiators defenceman. “I’m overwhelmed and speechless. It’s a dream come true.”

He said it was a goal of his to get drafted, and now he has done that as a result of the Eagles being impressed with his play in his rookie season with the Gladiators, the Atlantic Major Midget champions.

MacLeod recorded one goal and six points in 34 games played with the Gladiators in the Nova Scotia Eastlink Major Midget Hockey League. He also racked up 30 penalties. In 16 playoff games, the stay-at-home defenceman had no points.

He was ranked as going between the sixth and eighth rounds. While he dropped to the 10th round, that isn’t a deterrent for MacLeod, one of four blueliners selected by the Eagles.

“It’s not a big disappointment, I’m still drafted and get the opportunity to try out for the team,” he said. “I’m really happy and blessed I get the opportunity to be drafted.”

MacLeod was following the draft on the QMJHL website. That’s how he found out the Eagles had called his name.

“We saw my name pop up,” he said. “We had people over, my friends and family, and we got out of our seats and started celebrating. We were all really happy.”

He said he had been hoping to be selected by the Screaming Eagles.

“It turned out the way I wanted too,” he said.

MacLeod understands the challenge ahead of him to make an impression and lockdown a roster spot on the youthful Eagles.

“I have to continue with my hard work in the gym, work on my shooting, and go to camp and give it everything I have,” he said. “I can only hope for the best.

“I want to show them what I’m capable of and the type of player that I am.”

He thanked his parents for their dedication, driving him to practices and games in East Hants, and now when he made the Gladiators. He also thanked them for putting him in hockey, knowing it’s not cheap to do so.

“I wouldn’t be here without them,” said MacLeod.

MacLeod said it’s chilling when he hears “Connor MacLeod, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles” in the same sentence.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “I can’t believe I’m drafted now and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m still in shock. It’s amazing.”