Abbotsford defenceman Toews drafted by Islanders

For Devon Toews, a third trip through the NHL draft proved to be the charm.

After an outstanding freshman season with the NCAA's Quinnipiac Bobcats

After an outstanding freshman season with the NCAA's Quinnipiac Bobcats

For Devon Toews, a third trip through the NHL draft proved to be the charm.

After going unselected in his first two years of eligibility, the 20-year-old defenceman from Abbotsford had his name called by the New York Islanders in the fourth round (108th overall) of the annual talent lottery on Saturday.

Toews got the news in unusual fashion. He had his laptop open with the NHL Network streaming live, but the hosts weren’t following every pick in detail. Then his cellphone rang – it was Peter Quenneville, his former roommate at Quinnipiac University. Quenneville was at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center for the draft because his younger brother John was a top prospect (he’d been picked in the first round by the New Jersey Devils).

“Congrats,” Peter told Toews.

“For what?”

“You just got picked in the fourth round by the Islanders.”


Then, as Toews put it, “it got pretty crazy pretty quick” – his phone wouldn’t stop ringing, and he couldn’t stop smiling.

“It was pretty nuts,” he said. “It’s something you dream about as a kid. You just smile and try to soak it all in.”

Toews’s road to NHL prospect status was unconventional and inspirational. He was never selected in the Western Hockey League bantam draft due to his physical stature – as a second-year bantam player, he stood 5’2″ and weighed 102 pounds. But over the next two years, he hit a huge growth spurt while losing none of his mobility, co-ordination or skill with the puck.

Toews starred for the Surrey Eagles of the B.C. Hockey League (junior A), helping the team to BCHL and Western Canada Cup victories in 2013 and earning best defenceman honours at the RBC Cup, the national junior A championship tourney.

As a freshman this past season at Quinnipiac, an NCAA program based in Hamden, Conn., he posted 17 points (second-best on the team among defenceman) in 37 games to go with a +9 rating. That drew the attention of the Islanders, who made him the highest-drafted player in Quinnipiac history.

It’s yet another piece of evidence that being passed over in the bantam draft doesn’t mean a player should give up their NHL dream.

“I was the only D-man the Islanders picked,” noted Toews, who measures 5’11”, 185 pounds these days. “There’s a lot more work that needs to be done now to make the next step.

“I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me get to this point – it would take forever to name them all.”

Toews plans to play the next two seasons at Quinnipiac and hopefully turn pro at that point.

He was one of two Abbotsford players drafted on the weekend – forward Jake Virtanen was picked in the first round, sixth overall, by the Vancouver Canucks.

Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read