Nicolas Hague, No. 11 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, is in his second season with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League. Hague enters this weekend with 14 goals and 32 points in 46 games. The 6-foot-5, 206-pound left-handed shot has offered to maintain a monthly draft diary for NHL.com leading up to the draft in Chicago. His February blog comes after his participation in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Monday, and prior to a home game against North Bay on Friday.
We flew in to Quebec City for the CHL Top Prospects Game on Saturday. At first it was all the Ontario Hockey League players, but we eventually all came to the rink and met the training staff and later on at the hotel, the other players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League. It was a nice meet-and-greet with a lot of guys I'd never met before. It was a really relaxed setting, and you could tell everyone was just excited to be there.
We all had to do on- and off-ice testing on Sunday. There were some categories I didn't do well and others where I thought I did really well. I'll learn from those areas where I struggled and work on those things. With the NHL Scouting Combine coming up in May, I know where I'll need the most work. I'll also have some idea of what to expect.
On Sunday night we all went out to dinner. While there we were informed by police that a shooting had taken place at a mosque about three blocks away. We were pulled out of there in a hurry; we just had to get away from that area. It was a weird situation for all of us because we were so close to what happened. It was horrible. We were having such a good time at dinner and then were told what was going on and we were all shocked. I thought the local police and the Canadian Hockey League were great in handling the tough situation.
On the trip back to our hotel, we didn't feel unsafe, but we felt funny being so close to a terrible tragedy. Please keep all those affected by this in your prayers.
I'm happy they decided to play the game on Monday. We missed the whole weekend with our club teams; I missed two games. We were in Quebec City and ready for it and excited for the game. I think we all felt that if it wasn't safe then obviously they might postpone the game. I'm happy we played. We had a nice moment of silence before the game to remember those we lost and those who were injured.
Our coaches came in and said to us before the game that we were all there for a reason. All the scouts in attendance had probably seen us play before so we just had to go out there, do our thing and have fun. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After the first couple of shifts, the butterflies went away and I thought I kind of settled in. So did the rest of the team. It was probably the most fun I've had playing hockey.
We were all tired by the end of the third period. There had been a lot of travel and we had the testing just a day earlier. But it was a fun, fast-paced game and obviously there were a lot of good players out there. I anticipated it being a good game with that caliber of talent on the ice.
Until next month, thanks for reading.