Sting forward says virtual NHL draft ‘crazy, awesome’ experience

Sarnia Sting forward Jacob Perreault celebrates a goal against the Flint Firebirds. November 1, 2019. (Photo provided by Metcalfe Photography)

Sarnia Sting forward Jacob Perreault says it’s a dream come true to be drafted into the National Hockey League.

The 18-year-old sophomore forward was chosen 27th overall by the Anaheim Ducks during Tuesday’s virtual event.

Perreault said he was in contact with the Ducks a few days before getting selected.

He said it’s been nice to hear from players and staff on the team, including 2019 pick Brayden Tracey who he played with on Team Canada, and he already feels at home.

“They seemed really interested in my game and I had quite the interest in heading to Anaheim,” said Perreault. “They talked about the organization and where it is in California, a really nice place, and all of the good young prospects that they’ve got and how I’d be a good fit for the organization. When they called my name, it was something really crazy and really awesome. It was really great to celebrate with my family.”

Perreault had been looking forward to walking across the stage in his hometown of Montreal, but instead watched the entry draft with his family close-by.

He said he’s been working hard over the summer to improve his stop and starts, consistency, conditioning, and agility in order to make the Ducks roster in the coming years.

Perreault said he’ll be a mentor for 2021-eligible picks Ben Gaudreau, Ty Voit and Ryan Mast. He relied on guys like Jamieson Rees and Ryan McGregor for guidance during his rookie campaign.

“Benny (Gaudreau) always stays out after practices, whether we’re doing breakaways or whatever we’re doing to work on our games so we get along pretty well. It’s the same thing with Ty (Voit), I kind of look after him like a younger brother a little bit. He’s someone that I see my game a little bit in his. He understands the same way I do so it’s really good to have them on my team and set an example for them. In the next couple of years, my younger brother Gabriel is going to a really good player and I think setting an example for him is one of my priorities as well.”

Perreault and the Sarnia Sting are scheduled to be back on the ice for OHL regular season action in December.

He’ll look to build on a strong 2019-20 campaign in which he tallied 39 goals and 31 assists in 57 contests.