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NHL draft pick has connection to St. Anthony

In this 2016 file photo, Nathan Noel of the Saint John Sea Dogs skates between Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defencemen Jonathan Deschamps and Duncan MacIntyre (right) during Quebec Major Hockey League action at Harbour Station in Saint John, N.B.
In this 2016 file photo, Nathan Noel of the Saint John Sea Dogs skates between Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defencemen Jonathan Deschamps and Duncan MacIntyre (right) during Quebec Major Hockey League action at Harbour Station in Saint John, N.B.

Nathan Noel has been the talk of St. Anthony for over a week since being drafted by the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

Last year Noel was expected to be drafted at the BB&T Centre in Florida. After he didn’t have his name called, it was referred to by many as the biggest snub in the draft of 2015.

It doesn’t bother Noel anymore that he didn’t get drafted last year.

“It makes you appreciate things a lot more,” he said.

This year, he was not on hand for the draft. In fact, he was playing in the Hockey Night in Canada Play On ball hockey tournament in Mount Pearl when he started getting text messages.

“It didn’t seem real, because you’re not at the draft,” he said.

Although he has been drafted, Noel said it hasn’t sunk in yet, but believes it will next week when he heads to the Blackhawks camp.

St. Anthony is home

Although the 19- year- old was born and raised in the St. John’s area, his roots are deeply implanted in St. Anthony.

Both Noel’s mother Nadine and father Glen are from there. He still has many relatives living in the area, including his grandfather Bill Simms, who says Noel and his other grandchildren are his pride and joy.

It wasn’t a surprise to his grandfather that Noel was drafted this year.

“I was kind of expecting it,” he said. “He had a very good season.”

Playing hockey runs in the family. Simms played throughout the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Although he hasn’t had the opportunity to play with his grandson, he has played a bit of ball hockey for fun with him over the years. Nothing competitive.

When asked what he thought of his grandson getting drafted this year, he lit up.

 

Noel’s parents are also very proud of his accomplishment. They started going out in high school here in St. Anthony, and have returned to see family and friends many times over the years. It’s how their son and their daughter Natasha have come to see the area as home.

“I’ve always encouraged both Nathan and Natasha to find your passion, and something you’re really good at,” his father said. “(We) love them for being good and kind people and never forgetting where they came from.”

It will likely be Christmas time before Noel gets back to the St. Anthony area, since he visited a couple of weeks ago. But he’s looking forward to seeing friends and family when he does return.

“Hopefully I can get up to see friends and family soon,” he said.

What’s next?

Noel will begin his time at the Blackhawks training camp on July 9. He’s not as nervous as he was last year.

Although he wasn’t drafted in 2015, he was invited to attend the Anaheim Ducks camp. It’s less pressure this year, he said.

“Last year I went in with more pressure not being drafted,” he said.

Although camp is where Nole will have to shine, he believes best-case scenario for him this season is getting back on the roster for the Saint John Sea Dogs and playing his best.

“I’m going to go back to junior, I’m pretty sure of that,” he said. “Ideally, that’s what I’d like to see happen. To have a good camp and go back to Saint John.”

 

Last year Noel was expected to be drafted at the BB&T Centre in Florida. After he didn’t have his name called, it was referred to by many as the biggest snub in the draft of 2015.

It doesn’t bother Noel anymore that he didn’t get drafted last year.

“It makes you appreciate things a lot more,” he said.

This year, he was not on hand for the draft. In fact, he was playing in the Hockey Night in Canada Play On ball hockey tournament in Mount Pearl when he started getting text messages.

“It didn’t seem real, because you’re not at the draft,” he said.

Although he has been drafted, Noel said it hasn’t sunk in yet, but believes it will next week when he heads to the Blackhawks camp.

St. Anthony is home

Although the 19- year- old was born and raised in the St. John’s area, his roots are deeply implanted in St. Anthony.

Both Noel’s mother Nadine and father Glen are from there. He still has many relatives living in the area, including his grandfather Bill Simms, who says Noel and his other grandchildren are his pride and joy.

It wasn’t a surprise to his grandfather that Noel was drafted this year.

“I was kind of expecting it,” he said. “He had a very good season.”

Playing hockey runs in the family. Simms played throughout the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Although he hasn’t had the opportunity to play with his grandson, he has played a bit of ball hockey for fun with him over the years. Nothing competitive.

When asked what he thought of his grandson getting drafted this year, he lit up.

 

Noel’s parents are also very proud of his accomplishment. They started going out in high school here in St. Anthony, and have returned to see family and friends many times over the years. It’s how their son and their daughter Natasha have come to see the area as home.

“I’ve always encouraged both Nathan and Natasha to find your passion, and something you’re really good at,” his father said. “(We) love them for being good and kind people and never forgetting where they came from.”

It will likely be Christmas time before Noel gets back to the St. Anthony area, since he visited a couple of weeks ago. But he’s looking forward to seeing friends and family when he does return.

“Hopefully I can get up to see friends and family soon,” he said.

What’s next?

Noel will begin his time at the Blackhawks training camp on July 9. He’s not as nervous as he was last year.

Although he wasn’t drafted in 2015, he was invited to attend the Anaheim Ducks camp. It’s less pressure this year, he said.

“Last year I went in with more pressure not being drafted,” he said.

Although camp is where Nole will have to shine, he believes best-case scenario for him this season is getting back on the roster for the Saint John Sea Dogs and playing his best.

“I’m going to go back to junior, I’m pretty sure of that,” he said. “Ideally, that’s what I’d like to see happen. To have a good camp and go back to Saint John.”

 

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