Seventy-one players saw their name called at the 2020 MJHL Draft last month and celebrated the moment with family and friends.
For the players who didn’t get drafted, it can be a tough experience to go through, but it can also become the motivation that pushes you to work harder and become better from it.
In the last few years, there’s no better example than Owen Murray who went undrafted in 2017 before becoming one of the MJHL’s premier defenders with the Portage Terriers.
“Draft day for me was a little bit tough, waking up in the morning and kind of expecting to get drafted,” Murray shared in an interview. “I had a really good season in my top age bantam year, I had calls with a couple teams and thought that there was a possibility but at the same time I was really undersized at the time.”
“I’m a pretty confident guy and I think when it happened that I didn’t get drafted I don’t overly worry about things and just keep moving forward and I think that was the best thing for me, not worrying about it and keep moving along with the process helped me through all that.”
Murray took that draft day disappointment and turned it into gold. His rookie season in the MJHL was one that included being named Rookie of the Year, CJHL Rookie of the Year Finalist, Turnbull & Anavet Cup Champion, along with a nod on the league’s All-Rookie team.
“As long as you stick to the process and grind it out somebody will find you and there’s always opportunity.”
The Decker, Manitoba native was chosen to play for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge this past season and in late February, he announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for the UMass Minutemen in one of college hockey’s most competitive conferences.
“A couple days after the draft my dad had a couple calls from a few teams and Portage was one of them. We knew the history of Yellowhead (Chiefs) guys going there so I think it was a pretty easy decision to select Portage to list me.”
“Don’t dwell on it,” Murray said of not getting drafted. “Bantam’s a young age and it’s hard to see the full potential of a player back then. I think if you stay motivated and you keep working hard anything can really happen. As long as you stick to the process and grind it out somebody will find you and there’s always opportunity.”
Watch Owen Murray’s full interview below.