Up until Saturday morning, Danton Heinen was never much of a fan of the Boston Bruins. That all changed in an instant.
The Bruins selected the Langley teen in the fourth round (116th overall) of the NHL entry draft on Saturday morning at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Centre.
“I am definitely a Bruins fan now,” Heinen said with a chuckle.
“It is an unbelievable feeling; definitely an honour to be picked by the Bruins.”
Heinen, who turns 19 on Saturday (July 5), was following the draft online from Denver. He is in the Mile High City taking summer classes ahead of his freshman season with the University of Denver Pioneers hockey team.
He hadn’t refreshed the page in a few minutes so didn’t realize he had been drafted until his adviser called him with the news.
Heinen wasn’t on the final NHL draft rankings list both he and his adviser had fielded some questions from a few teams.
“I had an idea that I might (get drafted) but it wasn’t guaranteed,” he said.
Shortly after speaking to his advisor, Boston assistant general manager Don Sweeney gave him a call to welcome Heinen to the organization.
Heinen’s first call was to his parents Rick and Veronica back in Langley.
“They were pretty excited (but) it was a bit tough,” Heinen admitted. “I would have liked to have been able to share the moment with my family and friends.
“That would have been nice (but) it is what it is.”
He did add that his phone “was blowing up” following his selection and that getting drafted still took a little bit of time to sink in.
Getting drafted caps off a whirlwind season for Heinen, an offensively gifted player.
In his first year of the BCHL, he led the Surrey Eagles — and all league rookies — in scoring with 29 goals and 62 points in 57 games. Despite being a first-year player, he wore the captain’s ‘C’ for the second half of the season.
“(He’s an) offensive player, a real high-skilled player,” said Keith Gretzky, Boston’s director of amateur scouting, on the Bruins’ website.
“He has to gain some strength — that’s his one concern right now. There’s a lot of kids that have to get stronger, and he has to get stronger.”
Heinen is a six-foot, 160-pound forward.
Heinen’s play earned him both the BCHL Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year) and the Bob Fenton Trophy (most sportsmanlike player). He finished with just four minor penalties over the course of the season.
Heinen, who graduated from Langley Christian in 2013, also earned a scholarship to Denver.
He added that a lot of his success and development the past season could not have been accomplished without the influence of Surrey Eagles coach Peter Schaefer.
“I learned so much from him this past year,” Heinen said.
As for what comes next, Heinen is hoping to attend the Bruins development camp, which runs July 8 to 15.
It would be Heinen’s first time in the city.
Regardless of getting drafted, Heinen isn’t turning pro anytime soon. Rather, he will continue getting his education at Denver and playing for the Pioneers hockey team. But the goal remains readying himself to play pro hockey one day for Boston.
“Since I was a young kid, it has always been my dream to get into the NHL,” he said, adding he will do whatever necessary to make that a reality.
This is the second straight year a Langley Minor Hockey Association product has been selected in the NHL draft.
And Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association’s Shea Theodore was taken in the first round (26th overall) by the Anaheim Ducks.
“It is a good feeling we have had a couple of local kids go in the draft the past couple of years,” Heinen said.