In the sixth round of the 2015 NHL Draft, the Islanders made history, making Andong Song of Beijing the first Chinese-born player to be drafted into the NHL.
Song, listed as forward and defenseman at Elite Prospects but apparently preferring the latter, led his hometown team to the Chinese Hockey League championship. Song moved to North America at the age of nine and played last year for Lawrenceville Academy in New Jersey.
Here's some video of him playing for Lawrenceville and there's more here.
The Islanders have had a strong presence in China for a while now, spearheaded by owner Charles Wang. Through the initiatives like the Project Hope Foundation and bringing the Junior Islanders to play a Tournament in Harbin, there's a budding hockey culture in the country, and the Islanders are one of the teams, along with the Maple Leafs, making in-roads.
Arthur Staple has all the info from the draft floor in Sunrise.
Andong Song left Beijing for Ontario at age 10, attends prep school in NJ, headed to Phillips-Andover next year and college after that.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 27, 2015
Song's family moved to Oakville, Ont., eight years ago. Oakville is @91Tavares country, but Song, a D-man, says his idol is Nick Lidstrom.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 27, 2015
Andong Song meets with @cctvnews after being selected by the #Isles 172nd overall. pic.twitter.com/xRryrx3T3M— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 27, 2015
CCTV, the English-language branch of Chinese television network, has been documenting Song's draft weekend. "I feel like a star already."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) June 27, 2015
With their final pick in the draft, the Islanders selected another defenseman, Petter Hansson of Sweden, in the seventh round (202nd overall).
Listed at 6'-1," Hansson was ranked 46th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He went undrafted last year, but Hockey's Future had him as an "under the radar" choice this time around.
Following in the footsteps of Chicago Blackhawks prospect Gustav Forsling, Petter Hansson's development track has taken a similar turn through Linkoping. While not as offensively blessed, Hansson still broke out in a big way in the SuperElit, scoring 34 points in 38 games, earning 15 games up with the senior squad.