Eight future ECAC players selected in the 2013 NHL Draft

Connor Clifton adresses the media after being selected by Phoenix at the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark. - Jeff Cox

The defending NCAA champions from Yale University were the first ECAC team to have a player selected in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Eight future ECAC Hockey players were selected in Sunday's 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Leading the way was Yale recruit John Hayden, a product of the US National Development Program.

Hayden will reject major juniors to play for the defending national champions. "Yale is a great program right now. Keith Allain is doing a great job there. They are the defending national champions. I have a lot of work to do this summer to go in there and be able to help them defend," said the Greenwich, Conn. native.

Hayden is a power forward who played prep school hockey with hometown Brunswick Academy before venturing to Ann Arbor to play for the USNDP. Hayden fell further in the draft than many expected. The defending Stanley Cup champions, Chicago Blackhawks, took Hayden with the 74th overall pick late in the third round.

Cornell recruit Matt Buckles was the next player with ECAC ties to come off the board. The Toronto, Ont. Native played for the St. Mike's Buzzers in the OJHL. He is noted as a solid all-around player, but put up very good offensive numbers in juniors this year.

Buckles said he appreciates the opportunity to play college hockey over major junior. He was drafted by the Soo Greyhounds, but wasn't very big at the time. He said he has grown over four inches since then and plans to honor his commitment to play for the Big Red.

Buckles said he fell in love with the school and the hockey program. "When I went there, I really was impressed with the academics and the arena is loud and the fans are so passionate. I couldn't believe all the noise the first time I saw a game there," said Buckles.

Brown recruit Miles Wood was taken by the New Jersey Devils with the 100th overall pick in the fourth round. The forward from Nobles (MA) Prep will be joining Brown with his brother Tyler. However, Miles does not plan on enrolling at Brown until 2014 or 2015.

Two Quinnipiac recruits were selected in the draft, starting with defenseman Connor Clifton of the USNDP. The smaller blue liner is a mobile, puck-carrying defenseman.

Clifton will also have a brother on the team. His brother Tim is three years older and has played junior hockey with the Jersey Hitmen (EJHL). "We've always loved playing together and we decided we'd continue that in college," said Clifton, of playing with his older brother.

Another Bobcats recruit, Dubuque right wing Peter Quenneville, was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the seventh round. There will be five NHL Draft picks on the Quinnipiac roster in the fall. Coach Rand Pecknold has done a terrific job elevating the prestige of the hockey program at the Hamden, Conn. school. The Bobcats made their second NCAA Tournament appearance and first trip to the Frozen Four this past season.

"They had a great team. They obviously clicked, but unfortunately, they couldn't finish it," said Clifton of his future team's run through the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Three Harvard recruits were drafted. Hotchkiss School (CT) defenseman Wiley Sherman was picked by the Boston Bruins with the second to last selection in the fifth round. Sherman is a big defenseman who will play another season of prep school hockey before joining the Crimson.

Proctor Academy prospect Merrick Madsen was taken in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Acton, Calif. product will play with the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL this upcoming season before joining Ted Donato's program.

Buffalo, NY native Sean Malone was selected by the hometown Sabres in the sixth round. The future Crimson forward just finished playing for the USNDP.

Colgate recruit Tim Harrison was picked by the Calgary Flames in an off-the-board selection. The future Red Raider played on a prep school team alongside Ryan Donato, the son of Harvard coach Ted Donato and a highly sought after prospect for a future draft.

Clarkson recruit Troy Josephs was picked near the end of the draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Whitby, Ont. native played for the same team as Buckles, the St. Mike's Buzzers.

Jeff Cox covers the NHL Draft, the American Hockey League and college hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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