Byfield the highest-drafted Black player in NHL

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

Center Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves was taken No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, making him the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history.

“Quinton is an exceptional young man and talented player with a very bright future,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said. “We’re proud to be adding him to our organization and look forward to the next stages of his development and a promising career in L.A.”

Byfield, 18, is a native of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. His father, Clinton, is originally from Jamaica.

“Being on top for something is always cool and being the top pick among players of color would definitely be something really special to me,” Byfield told earlier this year. “I think the game is changing, and the NHL is becoming more diverse. Definitely that would get kids motivated to start playing hockey, knowing that they can play and that hockey is for everyone.”

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane (2009, Atlanta Thrashers) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (2103, Nashville Predators) shared the previous record for highest-drafted Black player in the NHL, at No. 4.

After Byfield was selected, Kane tweeted, “Congratulations to @byfield55 on his 2nd Overall selection and becoming the highest drafted black player in history.”

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound center has posted 143 points and a plus-38 rating in 109 regular-season games in his two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. He was the No. 2-ranked North American skater behind Alexis Lafreniere, who was selected first overall by the New York Rangers.

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