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Cole Harbour has a new puck prodigy

Nathan MacKinnon was well-known in hockey circles before the world under-17 challenge, but he lived up to the hype and then some in Manitoba.

Nathan MacKinnon was well-known in hockey circles before the world under-17 challenge, but he lived up to the hype and then some in Manitoba.

The 15-year-old Cole Harbour native was the second youngest player at the event, but played a top-line role for Atlantic Canada and posted a team-leading five goals while adding three assists to finish tied for seventh in tournament scoring with eight points in five games.

“He has all the tools, that’s for sure,” said Team Atlantic head coach Greg Leland. “He was one of the elite players at the tournament.”

The five-foot-10, 168-pound centre currently plays at a Minnesota prep school named Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the alma mater of fellow Cole Harbour native Sidney Crosby.

He is tied for third in team scoring at the under-16 level with 25 goals among 51 points in 21 games and has made an impression with both his skill and his work ethic.

“He’s a dynamic player, a special player. He has tremendous speed, a terrific shot and a bright future,” Leland said. “Not only does he have a high skill level, he competes hard, has a high battle level and wants to do well.”

MacKinnon, who will also star for Nova Scotia at the Canada Games in Halifax next month, is already a top prospect for the 2011 QMJHL draft along with Quebec natives Anthony Duclair and Jeremy Gregoire.

While draft rankings won’t be announced until April, the buzz in the scouting community indicates MacKinnon will be No. 1. His showing at the world under-17 only strengthened that.

“He’s a player all teams are going to want,” said Patrick Charbonneau, director of QMJHL central scouting. “He’s one of the best players we’ve had in the past few drafts. He’s up there with Sean Couturier and Brandon Gormley.”

 
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