Five NAX Alumni Selected in 2020 NHL Draft
It was a historic day for the Northern Alberta Xtreme (NAX) hockey academy as five alumni were selected in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft that took place virtually October 6-7. This was the first time in program history a former NAX student-athlete was drafted to the NHL when Luke Prokop, Michael Benning, Carter Savoie, Ethan Edwards, and Connor McClennon heard their names called on Day 2 of the draft. Prokop holds the special honour of being the very first player selected in program history when the Nashville Predators took the defenseman in the third round, 73rd overall. A first-round pick, seventh overall by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, Prokop has spent the past two seasons with the Hitmen after previously playing with the NAX Midget Prep team during the 2017/18 season. Prokop’s Midget Prep teammate Connor McClennon rounded out the NAX selections when the Philadelphia Flyers selected him in the sixth round, 178th overall. McClennon has spent the past two seasons with the Winnipeg Ice, formerly of Kootenay, after they selected him second overall in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. This past season the forward posted 49 points in 42 games and represented Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament. Prokop and McClennon won a CSSHL League Championship with NAX in 2017/18. Another trio of former NAX Elite 15s teammates were all taken in the fourth round. Defenseman Michael Benning, brother of Edmonton Oilers defenseman Matt Benning, was selected 95th overall by the Florida Panthers, forward Carter Savoie was then drafted by his hometown Oilers 100th overall, and defenseman Ethan Edwards was selected by the New Jersey Devils 120th overall. After growing up together playing in St. Albert, the three joined NAX for the 2017/18 season, going undefeated and winning a CSSHL League Championship. Benning and Savoie would then move on to the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL for two seasons where they would both win multiple individual awards. The two currently play together at the University of Denver. Edwards took a different path at the end of the 2017/18 season, returning to NAX to play for the Midget Prep team, where he would again win a CSSHL League Championship. He would then join the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL this past season, and now plays for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. Benning, Savoie and Edwards would team up again this past season when they represented Canada West at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge, a team whose staff consisted of NAX goalie coach Allen York.