by Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings second overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft Quentin Byfield made history. Byfield was the first Black hockey player drafted in the high position, however beyond his nationality, he possesses a strong skill set that rivals current Kings Anze Kopitar.
“It was my first time meeting him, he definitely seems like a really nice guy,” Byfield said about Kopitar in a zoom call to reporters on Monday. “Really helping me out on the ice, helping me in the gym and just telling me what they want to see on the ice. It’s a start for the relationship, and definitely something to start to build off of.“
With youth on his side, Byfield continues to grow and will become groomed for that position, with a very high hockey IQ, a Mamba like mentality, the sky’s the limit for this young player.
When first drafted, one of the points Byfield made was the fact of expanding the world of hockey to young Black and minority kids. Introducing them to the sport and allowing them an opportunity to embrace something outside of football or basketball. Los Angeles being a melting pot of various ethic backgrounds, this would be a perfect program for him to implement around the city.
“I want to be a positive impact in the community. (But) I want to get a couple of NHL games under my belt for the season,” Byfield explained. “I think you really have to make a name for yourself before you can begin to do that.“
Definitely a young man who has his priorities straight with ultimate goals of not only being a stellar hockey player but making sure he has respect from the community over time.
His journey to the NHL ranks hasn’t been the smoothest, especially in a year filled with COVID19, Byfield has had to deal with the tediousness of going through various protocols.
The best he got through it was a simply remedy of PS4 with his favorite games to go along with it.
“I was playing ‘Call Of Duty’ with the guys and so we got after it quite a bit,” Byfield said smiling.
It was refreshing to see such a young man with talent showcase his personality unguarded and excited to talk to the Los Angeles media, yet display confidence in himself.
Once the Opening night rosters went up, he was immediately reassigned to the AHL affiliate Ontario Reign. Sooner than later this young rising star will be in a Kings uniform putting the league on notice that this is a new day and new opportunity and youth movement of players that one day their names will be called with some of the greats. And hopefully Byfield can help guide this franchise back to a Stanley Cup.