Hockey may be Canada's sport, but on Friday, the NHL team from Canada's largest city looked to the Valley for the guy it hopes will be its next superstar.
Scottsdale native Auston Matthews was the No. 1 overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft on Friday. The 18-year-old Matthews, who grew up cheering for the Arizona Coyotes and played for the Arizona Bobcats minor hockey team, currently plays for the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League A.
Matthews is the first player from the southwest United States to be taken No. 1 overall in the NHL Draft. He's also the first American to go No. 1 overall since Patrick Kane nine years ago.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 24, 2016
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound center notched 24 goals and 22 assists in 34 games with the Lions last season. He also starred on the U.S. hockey team during the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan and former Coyotes center Daniel Briere are among Matthews' favorite NHL players. The Coyotes host the Maple Leafs on Dec. 23.
— #CoyotesDraft (@ArizonaCoyotes) June 24, 2016
Fan reaction from inside the NHL Draft to Auston Matthews going 1st overall https://t.co/fQ9fCY84s1
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 24, 2016
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 24, 2016