Surrey Eagles forward Adam Tambellini is Big Apple-bound after being selected by the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft Sunday in Newark, N.J.
Tambellini, 18, was picked by the Rangers in the third round – 65th overall. He was the first BC Hockey League player chosen in the seven-round draft.
Tambellini – son of former Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve and younger brother of former Canuck winger Jeff Tambellini – was acquired by the Surrey Eagles from the Vernon Vipers at the BCHL trade deadline last January, and was a key cog in the team’s championship playoff run which saw the Eagles win BCHL and Western Canada titles before losing in the semifinals of the RBC Cup national championship.
Tambellini was the Rangers’ top pick in the draft, as the team was without a first- or second-round selection.
And even though he’d been prepped for the experience by both his dad and older brother – the latter of whom went through the draft process as a first-round selection of the Los Angeles Kings in 2003 – he said the experience was still somewhat surreal.
“I don’t think you can prepare for a moment like this. Both (my dad) and my brother just told me to have fun with it, and hope you end up in a good spot, and i couldn’t end up in a better spot than New York,” the draftee said in a video posted on the New York Rangers’ official website.
In 16 regular-season games in Surrey, Tambellini – a six-foot-three centre who will play at the University of North Dakota next season – tallied 14 goals and 12 assists. In the post-season, the Edmonton native scored 28 points in 27 games, and was named top forward in the RBC Cup, which was held in Summerside, P.E.I.
“It’s very exciting as an organization when you have a player drafted,” said Eagles’ president, general manager and head coach Peter Schaefer.
“Adam had a great year personally and a great year for us as a team. We’re all incredibly excited for him to be going to the Big Apple. To play in New York City, at Madison Square Garden, will be really special for him, and I’m sure he’s going to have a great career with the Rangers.”
In total, seven BCHL players were picked in Sunday’s draft. Others included West Kelowna Warriors’ David Pope (fourth round, Detroit Red Wings), Langley Rivermen’s Evan Campbell (fifth round, Edmonton Oilers), Merritt’s Dane Birks (sixth round, Pittsburgh Penguins), Penticton’s Wade Murphy (seventh round, Nashville Predators) and Jedd Soleway (seventh round, Phoenix Coyotes) and Victoria Grizzlies’ Nolan De Jong (seventh round, Minnesota Wild).