SUNRISE, Florida (WKBN) – Youngstown Phantoms alum, and reigning USHL Player of the Year Kyle Connor, has been selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft 17th overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Connor becomes the highest drafted player in Phantoms franchise history, and the first former player selected in the top 20 of the draft.
“I’m so grateful for my time with the Youngstown Phantoms and playing in the USHL. It’s the best junior league in North America and has definitely prepared me for my future career with Winnipeg. The draft was an awesome experience for me and my family, and I couldn’t have achieved this goal without the guidance from coaches and mentors, and without the support of my teammates. I’m excited to call myself a Jet, and look forward to the future,” Connor said.
The University of Michigan commit had a record breaking year for the Phantoms, leading the League with 80 points (34G-46A), and setting numerous USHL and team records in the process. The personal successes did not stop there for five-time USHL Forward of the Week, as he scored a career-high five points in a game twice.
“We are very proud of Kyle and couldn’t be happier for him and his family. It was a pleasure watching him grow and develop these last three years into the young man he is now. I have no doubt that he will continue to make our organization proud, and represent us tremendously in the future,” said Phantoms Head Coach Anthony Noreen.
Connor was instrumental in the Phantoms record 17-game winning streak this past season, recording points in 15 of those contests, with 10 of those games serving as multi-point efforts. He also netted the game-winner to clinch win number 17; a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Steel on March 22. During the Phantoms historic winning streak, Connor accounted for 15 goals and 15 assists, for 30 total points. He finished his USHL tenure with 82 goals and 113 assists for 195 total points in 174 career games.
“We were very fortunate to have an elite athlete and individual in Kyle Connor as part of the Youngstown Phantoms organization. It’s a proud day for us knowing that we brought Kyle into our program and were able to be part of his development not only as a player, but as an exceptional teammate, student, and representative of our community, said Jason Koehler, Phantoms Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for him to have been drafted in the top-20. It’s outstanding for Kyle, his family, all the families who hosted him along the way, and every coach, teammate and mentor who were part of his journey,” Koehler added.
Courtesy: Wes Uhler – Youngstown Phantoms