Drake Batherson becomes latest Nova Scotian picked for NHL All-Star Game
When you think about NHL All-Stars from Nova Scotia the names Crosby, MacKinnon and Marchand usually come to mind.
But this year, a new Nova Scotian has been selected to play in the National Hockey League’s mid-season classic.
"I just got off the phone with my family. They're super happy for me,” Drake Batherson, a player for the Ottawa Senators, told reporters after his team’s 4-1 win in Calgary Thursday night.
Legendary Cape Breton blues rocker Matt Minglewood, or Roy Batherson as it says on his birth certificate, is among the happiest for the 23-year-old all-star.
"I get 'your son' and I get 'my nephew', but he's actually my grand-nephew,” Minglewood told CTV Atlantic.
Thanks to his own public profile, the Glace Bay musician said he was able to encourage thousands to cast a ballot for Drake to be an all-star.
"We got all the Minglewood crowd, all the Facebook friends, to get out there and vote and you wouldn't believe how happy they are,” he explained.
Just up the highway in North Sydney, N.S., Batherson's grandparents are beaming with pride.
"We don't miss a shift. Doesn't matter what time the game is,” said Matt Batherson, Drake’s grandfather. "(I remember) he was about seven and he was rattling them off the crossbar. I couldn't believe it. You knew right then that he was special."
"They come up to me at Superstore or whatever and say, 'Oh, we just love your grandson,'” added Kay Batherson, Drake’s grandmother. “They say, 'We feel he's from here.'"
Drake Batherson was actually born in Indiana, where his father Norm was playing pro-hockey at the time. He grew up in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and went on to play junior for the Cape Breton Eagles.
Drake also starred for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship in 2018.
“Throughout pro, I just feel like I've taken a step every year and obviously I've been put in some good positions to succeed," he said of his rise to NHL stardom.
This year, Drake's leading the Senators in scoring - six points ahead of his closest teammate. Being an NHL all-star won’t be Drake’s only new experience, it will be his first time visiting Las Vegas, where the game will be played.
"Yeah it's funny, I've never been. So I've never even played there… never even visited. So, I don't know what to expect,” he added with a laugh.
Minglewood says he, and the rest of the family across Nova Scotia, will be watching when the puck drops on the NHL All-Star Game on Feb. 6.