He’s surpassed all goalposts!
18-year-old Quinton Byfield just broke records as the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history, ESPN reports.
Byfield is a 6-foot-4, 215 pound center who up until recently played for the Ontario Hockey League. He has scored 143 points with a plus 38 rating in 109 regular season games in his two seasons with the OHL. Now, the Ontario native has been drafted No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Kings, becoming the first Black player to be drafted that high in NHL history.
“Being in the record books for anything is definitely super special, but that especially. My dad and mom didn’t play hockey or didn’t have too much knowledge about that. Kind of just growing the game together,” Byfield said. “I think it just shows that there’s a lot of opportunity for everyone in the world and that you can play every sport and be successful in it.”
The new L.A. Kings center shattered the previous record set by San Jose Sharks’ Evander Kane and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Seth Jones in 2009 and 2013, who were both drafted at No. 4. After Byfield’s draft, Kane tweeted congratulating him on his historic win.
Congratulations to @byfield55 on his 2nd Overall selection and becoming the highest drafted black player in history.
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) October 6, 2020
Kings general manager Rob Black spoke about Byfield, saying, “Quinton is an exceptional young man and talented player with a very bright future. We’re proud to be adding him to our organization and look forward to the next stages of his development and a promising career in L.A.”
While the NHL has been steadily working to make the league more diverse and inclusive, Byfield says he hopes that he can one day help to move the needle forward even more.
“The league is doing a really really good job with all the inclusivity and just the awareness that they’re getting out,” said Byfield. “I think it would be really nice if I got involved with that and spread the positivity and just be a positive role model.”
While he’s excited about his next journey, he knows it won’t be without its fair share of challenges, something the young budding hockey star says he’s ready for.
“I’m a pretty confident guy,” Byfield said. “I definitely think I could step into the NHL next year, but I know it’s a really big jump from the OHL and really challenging.”
You’re skating to new heights! Congratulations, Quinton!
Photo Courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images