Former Surrey Eagles captain Danton Heinen can add another line to his hockey rÃ©sumÃ©: Boston Bruins prospect.
The Bruins snapped up the 6-foot 165-pound forward from Langley in the fourth round, 116th overall in the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft Saturday in Philadelphia.
“The Bruins are now my new favourite team,” Heinen said from the University of Denver, where he is starting a four-year NCAA Div. 1 hockey scholarship. “I’m definitely excited. It’s really an honour.”
He added that his cell phone was “blowing up” Saturday morning: “It’s definitely great to have the support of my friends and family, for sure.”
His advisor gave him the great news first, and, about 10 minutes later, Heinen spoke on the phone to Bruins’ assistant general manager Don Sweeney.
“I was in shock,” Heinen said. Heinen – who celebrates his 19th birthday July 5 – is coming off a stellar rookie season as captain of the B.C. Hockey League’s Surrey Eagles. He led the team in goals (29) and points (62) while collecting just eight penalty minutes in 57 regular season games.
His fantastic campaign didn’t go unnoticed. Heinen won the Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy as B.C. Hockey League Rookie of the Year, as well as the Bob Fenton Trophy as the BCHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
Heinen was also named to the league’s All-Rookie Team.
As for getting drafted, Heinen figured there was a chance he might be selected late, but didn’t expect to be taken as high as the fourth round.
“I’m definitely ecstatic,” he said. “I was a little bit of a late bloomer, but the last few years have been really big for me, in (terms of) development.”
It’s been a fast track to success for Heinen in recent years.
In 2011/12, he graduated from Langley’s bantam AAA squad to the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League. With the Hawks, he racked up 43 points in 37 games.
The next season, 2012/13, Heinen scored 49 points in 43 regular season games with the junior B Richmond Sockeyes, before playing a big role in helping the Sockeyes capture both the Cyclone Taylor Cup (B.C. championship) and Keystone Cup (Western Canada tournament).
Heinen now has one goal in mind: to wear the spoked B jersey and make a living playing pro hockey.
“My goal is definitely to play in the NHL, and play for the Bruins,” Heinen said. “I’ll try to get a degree here in Denver but my main goal is to play in the NHL.”
To make it to the world’s elite hockey league, Heinen knows he has to get bigger and stronger, and continue to fine-tune his overall game.
“I need to improve every aspect of my game, and keep working hard and one day play in the NHL,” he said.
Meanwhile, back in Langley, Heinen’s parents Rick and Veronica are bursting with pride.
“We are extremely excited,” Veronica said. “This is just so surreal. We’re so proud of him. He’s just worked so hard and he really deserves everything he’s getting right now. It’s just unbelievable.”