Justin Hryckowian | The late emergence of a Quebecer

(Boston) Since the passage of Montrealer Jim Madigan behind the bench, Northeastern University has always had its Quebec branch, and the source does not dry up.

We know goaltender Devon Levi well, a Buffalo Sabers prospect who also made a name for himself in goal for Team Canada Junior. But we know less about his teammate Justin Hryckowian, a striker who gives headaches to those who write his name, and also, increasingly, to opposing goalkeepers.

Hryckowian, 21, is a former teammate of Levi with the Lac St-Louis Lions. Never drafted, however, he quickly climbed the hierarchy for a second-year player. Here he is an established member of the Huskies’ first line, the club’s second scorer with 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 27 games.

“He works so hard, describes his teammate Jayden Struble, a hope of the Canadian. He’s good at face-offs, deflections, passing quick passes and he’s excellent on the power play at the top of the slot. [bumper]. And he has leadership, even though he’s a second-year player. »

NHL teams are starting to take notice. Last summer, the Washington Capitals invited him to their development camp. It’s an encouraging step for a player who openly admits he knew full well he wouldn’t be drafted in his first year of eligibility, in 2019.

“It’s not that I thought I wasn’t good, but I knew there was no buzz around my name,” he explains, in an interview in French. I was small, I didn’t have the best shape and I wasn’t a very good skater. I played in a prep school in my draft year and I got injured the following year. »

From the age of 14 or 15, I knew that my trajectory was going to be longer.

Justin Hryckowian

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to be drafted,” he continues. But I wouldn’t be in this position today if I had been. It gave me motivation and now I’m like a free agent and I’ll have the ball in my court when I want to play for the pros. Everything happens for a reason. »

At least another year

Hryckowian will take part in the Beanpot final against Harvard next Monday. The Huskies will then look to string together the wins to qualify for the NCAA National Championship.

“We knew it was Devon’s last year. [Levi]by Aidan [McDonough, le capitaine]. It’s not every year that a team gets the chance to win, and the guys all came back this year for that reason,” says Hryckowian.

The communications student plans to continue his journey at Northeastern for at least another season, before trying his luck with the pros. He originally thought he was going to spend his four years of eligibility here.

I thought I wouldn’t play much, that I was going to start with the fourth line. But this is happening faster than I thought!

Justin Hryckowian

Except that while waiting to see if teams show up, he has two good reasons to stay in school.

“I want to come back next year because I might have the chance to be the captain and it would be an honour. Also, my little brother [Dylan] is coming to play with us next year, so it’s hard to say no to that. »

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