Ben Duffy says he won’t be playing any mind games at next month’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. His message to every team in the league? Pick me and I’ll report.
“I’d prefer to play for a Maritime team, but if it’s a Quebec team, I’ll play,” the 16-year-old forward said. “I don’t think there’s a team in the league I wouldn’t play for.”
The Lower Sackville native is bringing a refreshing approach to the draft, which is June 4 to 7 in Sydney. It’s common for prospects to bluff and say they’re eyeing U.S. college hockey to scare away undesirable teams at the draft.
But Duffy, a gifted sniper with a bullet shot who plays for the Dartmouth Subways, hasn’t even considered it.
“I didn’t really know about college hockey coming up, and the Q was just a league that I always wanted to play in,” Duffy explained. “I know from the great players that have played in this league that it’s a good league to play in.”
Duffy looks like a lock to go in the top 10. He is ranked sixth by Central Scouting and seventh by International Scouting Service, which had him at third entering the year.
High-scoring defenceman Brandon Gormley of Murray Harbour, P.E.I., sits at the top of both lists.
The Moncton Wildcats hold the No. 1 pick and are looking at their options.
Duffy was the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League’s MVP and led the regular season and playoffs in scoring, combining for 39 goals and 43 assists for 82 points in 45 games.
But his stock still dropped, especially after the Cole Harbour McCains swept Dartmouth in the midget final.
“I put up a lot of points, but I think I could have done more,” Duffy said. “In the playoffs, I could have been a better leader and stepped up my game when the team needed it.”
Duffy said he plans to spend the summer bulking up, and he’s already made big strides in that department. He is almost 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, about two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than he was at the start of the season.
Duffy, whose family will make the trip to Sydney, said his hometown Halifax Mooseheads “would be the best team” to go to, but his goal is just to be a top-five pick.
“Earlier in the year, I was hoping to go for first overall,” he said, “but top five would be a great thing to achieve.”