ANAHIEM CA – When it comes to the NHL draft, the adage, “many are called, but few are chosen” rings truer than in most other sports. So when Six Nations’ Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs grad Brandon Montour was drafted by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the second round, 55th overall in last summer’s NHL Draft, the UMass-Amherst freshman won his chance to make it to the show.
But it was only a chance. He now had to prove his stuff to the Ducks’ brass and secure a contract. That is the second element of the trifecta that makes a pro hockey career and Montour has cleared that element with the signing of a three-year entry-level contract. The third and most difficult element is staying there, and Montour has everything it takes to be a career NHL player after reportedly wowing ‘em at the Ducks’ Prospect Camp last summer.
Six Nations area sports fans know Montour’s name well. His career tracks like a meteor across the hockey horizon, coming from the relative obscurity of Jr. B hockey to a top ranking NHL prospect.
He spent three seasons playing in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) and amassed 117 points (33g, 84a) in 137 career games and had 36 points (10g, 26a) over 41 career postseason contests. In 2012-13 as a Caledonia Corvair, Montour finished as the team’s second leading scorer (67 points) and was top 25 in the GOJHL in scoring. That year he was selected First Team GOJHL Midwestern Conference all-star recognition and won the Cory Stoyko Memorial Trophy as best defenseman by leading all GOJHL defensemen in playoff scoring in 2013 with 15 points (4g, 11a) over 12 games despite the Corvairs being eliminated in the semifinals.
“He was ranked 110 and he went 55th, so someone saw some potential in him and he’s a kid that sees the game well,” said former Corvairs coach Mike Bullard.
Montour spent the 2013-14 season and part of 2014-15 as a member of the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and was named both the USHL Defenseman of the Year and USHL Player of the Year in 2013-14 after appearing in all 60 regular season games, totaling 62 points on 14 goals and 48 assists. He finished his USHL career with 83 points on 20 goals and 63 assists over 77 games played, and led all USHL defensemen in scoring in 2013-14. He was ninth overall in scoring and second in assists with 62 points, the most by a defensemen in the USHL Tier 1 since 2002, just five points shy of the USHL all-time record. He was ranked sixth in the USHL in plus/minus at +35 in 2013-14.
He was named the USHL’s top defenseman and was the second-leading scorer for Western Conference champion Waterloo as a 19-year-old before agreeing to play college hockey at Massachusetts-Amherst in 2014-15. The Black Hawks finished first in the regular season and advanced to the Clark Cup finals against Eastern Conference champion, Indiana. Montour was ranked 92nd amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings.
“Montour is a pure offensive defenseman with incredible athleticism,” says UMass scouting. “He was ranked 47th on our list of the Top 100 NHL Prospects in the NCAA.”
According to a UMass report, “Montour is in his freshman season at Massachusetts-Amherst in 2014-15. After missing the first half of the season due to eligibility issues, he has made an immediate impact in the Minutemen lineup with his playmaking and skating ability. His elite level offensive skills will likely lead to success at the NCAA level. Long-term he projects as a skating offensive defenseman capable of running a power play in the NHL. To reach that potential he will need added bulk and strength and continue to refine the positional aspects of his game on the defensive end.”
Six Nations sports fans will also know that Montour is a top ranking pro lacrosse prospect and won the Jr. “A” lacrosse Minto Cup last year as a member of the Arrows Express and a Mann Cup with the Sr. A Major Series Six Nations Chiefs.