History was made during Tuesday's NHL Draft when the Los Angeles Kings selected forward Quinton Byfield with the No. 2 pick. In doing so, Byfield became the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history.
At No. 2, Byfield was drafted two picks before San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones were. Kane was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers with the No. 4 pick in the 2009 draft while Jones was picked by the Nashville Predators with the No. 4 pick in the 2013 draft.
"It means a lot to me, it's something special," Byfield told NHL.com. "Being in the record books for anything is definitely super special, especially [since] my dad and my mom didn't play hockey or have too much knowledge about that, so kind of just growing the game together. It just shows there's a lot of opportunity for everyone in the world that you can play every sport and be successful in it."
After the New York Rangers took heralded prospect Alexis Lafreniere at No. 1, the Kings didn't hesitate to select Byfield. The 18-year old center was the top pick in the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Draft and recorded 143 points (61 goals & 82 assists) in two seasons with the Sudbury Wolves.
"I think his agency is very up to date on everything that can take place with that with being a poster child for kids to follow now," Kings vice president and general manager Rob Blake said. "We'll work closely with them. Quinton's been very good in letting us know and his agent that his focus be on hockey. He's very adamant about that, we support that 100 percent. That's what got him to this place, and he's going to continue to focus on that to be great for the Kings."
The Kings aren't ruling out bringing Byfield up to the NHL right out of training camp. If Byfield does make the Kings roster for the 2020-21 season, he'll become the seventh Black player to ever play for the franchise, joining Grant Fuhr, Jarome Iginla, Anson Carter, Nathan Lafayette, Mike Marson and Wayne Simmonds.