Loic Leduc had reason to celebrate on the weekend of June 23 and 24. In addition to the Fête nationale, the Mercier native was selected 103rd overall by the New York Islanders in the 2012 National Hockey League (NHL) draft.
On June 24, Loic awoke with little expectations for the NHL draft. Ranked at 209 by Central Scouting, he had decided not to make the trip to Pittsburgh, but rather watch the event on television, surrounded by his family. The defenseman, who plays for the Cape-Breton Screaming Eagles, had even decided not to listen to the first selections on the second day of the draft until he was able to determine that some colleagues from the Québec Major Junior Hockey League had been selected.
"I turned on the television to see who had just been selected. My father had just arrived and he hardly had time to sit down when I was drafted in the 4th round!" said Loic.
The news has created a shockwave at the Leduc home and especially for the huge defenseman who was ranked as one of the last hopes for the seventh and final round of the 2012 draft. "It took a good minute for me to realize what had just happened. I got up and I was completely frozen. Since I was a youngster, I dreamed about this!" said the hockey player immediately after his selection. New York was part of the top three teams who had met the young player, but he was expected instead to be selected by either Minnesota or Vancouver who had shown great interest.
The 18 year-old player follows the same path as another Quebec defenseman who was drafted by the New York Islanders during the last rounds of the 2003 draft. Bruno Gervais had evolved three seasons in the Courteau circuit before joining an affiliate of the Islanders, then the New York club in 2005-2006.
However, Loic does not put too much pressure on his shoulders: "I give myself a few more years as I set my sights for an American League club when I am 19 or 20 years old."