Charlie Zolin’s efforts as a goalie for Greenwich’s hockey team certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The 2020 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League held its third annual American Draft recently and Zolin topped the list of picks.
A Greenwich resident, Zolin was picked first in the QMJHL American Entry Draft. He was selected first in the draft by the Acadie Bathurst Titan team.
The QMJHL is one of three major junior hockey leagues that constitute the Canadian Hockey League. The league includes teams in the provinces of Nova Scotia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Eighteen teams comprise the QMJHL and each franchise got to select two U.S. players. The league was allowed to draft players from six New England states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
“Other than being surprised, it was definitely a thrill to be drafted No. 1,” said Zolin, a rising GHS junior. “I woke up that morning and I got a call from the coach, telling me they drafted me, which was really exciting. It’s a good step for what I want to accomplish in hockey. It also gives me some publicity, which also helps.”
Zolin successfully shared the goaltending duties with Ben Nash the past two seasons for the Cardinals. Nash graduated from GHS on June 10, so Zolin should get an increased workload between the pipes.
“It is important to know that this honor doesn’t come by accident,” said Cardinals hockey coach Chris Rurak, who guided the squad to the FCIAC Tournament semifinals this past season. “This is the reward for the hard work and training he has put in. I couldn’t be happier for him and, as a program, we are very proud of him.”
The Acadie Bathurst team is located in Bathurst in the New Brunswick province.
“I got a video sent by the general manager and I saw that it’s a really nice city,” Zolin said. “There is a really good culture around their hockey team. The whole town supports the hockey team and the team thrives around the fan base.”
Zolin is going to attend Acadie Bathurst’s training camp, which is scheduled to take place in August. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is uncertain whether the camp will take place in August. When the team’s training camp does take place, Zolin will report.
Zolin said that he plans on playing for the Greenwich High School hockey team the next two seasons. He noted however, that he will attend Acadie Bathurst’s training camp and see what happens from there
“We are extremely proud of Charlie, we always want to see our players get to the next level,” Rurak said. “I just have a small part in their career. One of my goals is to help get them ready for the next level.”
Playing for Greenwich has enabled Zolin to sharpen his goaltending skills.
“Practices are fast paced,” Zolin said. “Most games are fast-paced games and definitely practices are, which has helped me improve.”
Being selected No. 1 in the QMJHL American Entry Draft increases the spotlight on Zolin, who has gained notoriety by being selected first.
“I want to play college hockey and Canadian hockey, so there’s still a lot of time left for me to do that,” Zolin said. It will also be great if I can go professional. To be a professional ice hockey goalie, I have to keep on working and battling.”
Brunswick School was very well represented in the QMJHL American Draft. Forward Andon Cerbone, a rising Brunswick junior, was the 10th pick in the draft. The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies drafted Cerbone. Jakub Tepley, a 2020 Brunswick graduate, who played forward for the Bruins, was selected 12th in the draft by the Charlottetown Islanders
Connor Welsh, who is entering his junior year at Brunswick, was chosen by the Cape Breton Eagles with the 15th pick. Brunswick teammate Beanie Richter, a rising sophomore, was also drafted by Cape Breton (33rd pick).