Buffalo, N.Y. – Forwards Will Bitten and Nick Caamano made history in more ways than one on Saturday as they became the first players ever to be drafted into the National Hockey League from the Flint Firebirds organization. The pair were selected in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Bitten was the first Flint Firebird to be tabbed when the Montreal Canadiens selected him in the third-round, 70th overall. He was the highest rated Firebirds’ player headed into the 2016 NHL Draft and joins an organization that three former Plymouth Whalers have suited up for in the past including Paul Mara, Jason Ward and James Wisniewski.
“It’s an amazing feeling, it was my team growing up and my family is really excited,” said Bitten. “I’m speechless right now, I can’t believe it. Just hearing my name getting called out by the Montreal Canadiens is an amazing feeling.”
The Dallas Stars selected Nick Caamano in the fifth-round, 146th overall. Caamano joins current Flint Firebirds Brent Moran and Alex Peters as draft picks of the Dallas Stars organization and is one-of-seven Flint Firebirds/Plymouth Whalers ever to be drafted by Dallas since 1993. Additionally, former Plymouth Whaler forward Tyler Seguin (2008-10) is a current member on the Dallas Stars.
“It’s a pretty surreal moment, I don’t have enough words to describe it right now,” said Caamano. “I’m kind of speechless but it’s an awesome time and I’m really proud to throw on the Dallas jersey.”
After the 2016 NHL Entry Draft concluded, there are now 119 players that have been drafted into the NHL, 61 skaters that have played in the NHL and 21 players currently on NHL rosters from the Flint Firebirds and Plymouth Whalers organizations combined.
An impressive 96 CHL players were selected in the seven rounds of the 2016 NHL Draft held this weekend, representing over 45% of the 211 players picked by all 30 NHL clubs. Of the 96 CHL players selected, the Ontario Hockey League leads the way with 48 players which matches a modern draft record set in 2012 and ties the league’s highest total since 1999 when 52 players were selected in the nine-round draft process.
Visit FlintFirebirds.com for photos, video and extended coverage of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, N.Y.
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