When the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles selected defenceman Zach Welsh of Halifax last Saturday, it was the third time a member of that family was taken in the QMJHL draft.
Older brothers, Nick and Matt, were both at the draft in Quebec City to see their younger brother get picked in the second round.
“Going into the draft I kind of knew how it worked, but having them there was pretty special,” Zach said.
Only one other Nova Scotia family has had three brothers selected in the Q League draft.
Darren Sutherland and twin brothers Robbie and Jeff, of Halifax, were drafted between 1995 and 1998.
Nick Welsh, a defenceman, played in 379 games with Shawinigan and Moncton over five seasons in the QMJHL. He now plays for Saint Mary’s University, where he is studying business.
Matt Welsh, a 19-year-old goalie, is a member of the Charlottetown Islanders and will enter into his fifth and final season next year.
He’s also a business student at UPEI in Charlottetown and recently won the Marcel-Robert Trophy as the QMJHL scholastic player of the year. He also received one of three Guy Lafleur awards of excellence, an award that comes with $6,000 of scholarship money.
“We try to catch as many games as we can and there have been many, many road trips to Quebec and through the Maritimes over the last five or six years,” said Chris Welsh, the trio’s father. “It just becomes part of your routine and your lifestyle and we love it.”
Now his third son is on the verge of beginning his major junior hockey career.
Even though he’s only 15 and in Grade 10 at Halifax West High School, he’s already six-foot-one, That’s three inches taller than both of his older brothers.
He hopes to use his size to his advantage when he steps on to the ice in Sydney in an attempt to crack the Cape Breton lineup.
“I’ve been getting out to some early-morning skating sessions and I feel that if I can improve the skating part of my game, I’m confident I can crack their roster.”
If Welsh fails to make the cut in Cape Breton, he will return to Halifax for a second season with the Halifax Macs of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.
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