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McBain impresses Wild at development camp

Forward prospect excited to take next step with Boston College

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jack McBain's reality of participating in his first development camp with the Minnesota Wild hadn't sunk in. 

"It's awesome. Coming into the rink and seeing what it's all about, it's pretty unbelievable for the first couple days," the 18-year-old forward said during the camp, which was held from July 10-15. "Obviously you're a little nervous coming in, it's your first camp, so I'm just kind of looking to have fun.

"I'm just trying to soak it all in right now."

If McBain was nervous, it didn't show. Selected by the Wild in the third round (No. 63) of the 2018 NHL Draft, he impressed with his athleticism. During a team-building exercise of sand volleyball, he had teammates and coaches dodging spikes.

"[He's an] unbelievable athlete, we noticed that at the volleyball tournament, poor guys were just running for cover," Wild director of player development Brad Bombardir said with a laugh. "Guys were not jumping up, not blocking his spikes.

"He's a great kid, he just loves to do all that stuff on the ice and learn these new tricks and all that. I think we got a good pick there and we're really happy we got him where we got him."

A Toronto native, McBain prides himself on playing a 200-foot game. He had 58 points (21 goals, 37 assists) in 48 games with Toronto of the Ontario Junior Hockey League last season.

McBain (6-foot-3, 201 pounds) admitted his skating needs improvement. The necessary quick acceleration has proved to be a challenge, but Bombardir is confident it will develop at Boston College, where McBain will play this season.

"Straight ahead his speed's fine, just needs a little bit more quickness, a little bit more lateral movement," Bombardir said. "But he needs to play faster and he's going to a school where they like to play fast there. [Boston College] just loves to push the puck up the ice, push the pace and get guys going, so he's going to learn to play fast there, which is good for him."

McBain is equally as excited to play college hockey, especially for coach Jerry York, who has helped develop NHL forwards Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) and Chris Kreider (New York Rangers).

"[Education has] always been a big part of my life growing up," said McBain, who will major in business. "It was a pretty tough decision. A lot of my buddies [play junior hockey]; not too many guys out of my area go the college route. It's kind of different. A couple guys on my team the past few years have committed or have gone. I talked to a couple of them about it. They all love it. They all say it's great. I'm really looking forward to it.

"I had the opportunity to go watch a couple Michigan games in my minor midget year and kind of fell in love with college hockey from that, just the whole atmosphere, going up against bigger, stronger guys. Right now, I kind of feel it's what's best for my game, having the opportunity to go in there and fill out and become stronger and bigger. I'm really looking forward to BC."

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