Former Tilbury resident Brandon Montour will almost surely be selected in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft after the offensive defenseman grabbed the eye of scouts starring for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the United States Hockey League this season.
“My run here in the USHL has been one of the best decisions I have made; the league’s very good,” said Montour, who left the Caledonia Corvairs of the GOJHL after the 2012-2013 season to join the USHL. “I have improved my game in all aspects, and the organization we have here in Waterloo is top notch.”
That improvement has been seen by those around the USHL, as well as NHL scouts, who had Montour ranked 186th during their midterm ranking, and 92nd in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings.
Leaving Chatham-Kent in 2008 with his family to move to the Brantford area, Montour is a Chatham-Kent Cyclones alumni, and soon, will be a USHL alumni as he moves on to play NCAA Division I hockey with the University of Massachusetts. Beyond the NCAA, Montour is eying the NHL.
“It’s what you dream of growing up and, yes, it’s pretty surreal to see my name up on the list and it is a really good feeling to just have the opportunity to be showing my skills to NHL teams,” said Montour about his draft ranking and the opportunity to move toward his NHL dream. “A lot of attention and a way to get noticed is playing in the USHL. It is a very good league with high calibre teams, and it is a very good way to develop your game.”
His ascension up the NHL draft ladder was due in no small part to his offensive output this season, as Montour finished ninth in USHL scoring, a league which typically sees a dozen players selected in the opening rounds of the NHL Draft. Montour had 14 goals and 48 assists for 62 points in 60 games as a defenseman.
Montour continued that output in the playoffs, helping his Waterloo Black Hawks to a Clark Cup playoff final, where they fell to the Indiana Ice in five games. Montour topped all USHL scorers in the playoffs with 16 points in 12 games.
Enjoying such a successful season and playoff, Montour, who attended Tilbury Area Public School and credits the area for helping to build his skills, hasn’t had much time to think about the NHL draft.
With the season now behind him, however, the offensive defenseman is excited about the prospects of hearing his name called.
“It’s in the back of my head, you know, you want to play good for the people that are watching and the teams who are interested in you, so that’s been a motivation all year for me,” said Montour of the NHL Draft. “It’s pretty exciting and when the time comes it will be an awesome couple days that me, my friends, and my family will remember forever.”
Following the NHL draft, even if he’s passed over, the defender still has work to do in preparation for the next step in his hockey career, which will move to the NCAA’s University of Massachusetts, where he’ll play for the UMass Minutemen.
“Personal goals are to just keep on the gas pedal, keep improving and working hard this summer,” said Montour, who is also a talented lacrosse player, having competed at the Junior A level in the past. “I will be attending the University of Massachusetts next year to play D1 Hockey so I am excited about that and it should be a great experience for myself.”
From Tilbury to the GOJHL, USHL, NCAA, and some day, potentially the NHL, Montour is making a name for himself in the hockey world, and will be a name to watch in the upcoming NHL draft and beyond.