After a stellar freshmen year, netminder David LeNeveu became the highest Cornellian drafted in five years when he was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes. LeNeveu was taken in the second round as the 46th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft held at the Air Canada Center in Toronto on June 22.
“I was in Toronto for the draft and it was a thrilling experience. It was interesting to see all of the top media and hockey personnel gathered together in one arena,” said LeNeveu. “It was exciting to see trades being made right before your eyes on the floor of the arena. The best part of the draft, however, was meeting and talking to Wayne Gretzky immediately after being drafted.”
LeNeveu was the top goalie prospect from collegiate hockey and was ranked sixth among North American goaltenders by the NHL Central Scouting Service. He was the seventh goalie drafted.
“Going into the draft I had no idea of where or to whom I might go to in the draft. I had heard rumors of going anywhere from the late first round to somewhere in the fourth round. I was just glad that my name was called sooner than later,” said LeNeveu.
One of the biggest surprises of the draft was fellow ECAC player and Yale sophomore, Chris Higgins, taken in the first round with the 14th pick by the Montreal Canadiens. As a rookie, Higgins led the Elis in scoring and was named ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Also of note, Dan Glover, a member of the 2003-2004 Cornell recruiting class, was drafted in the eighth round with the 250th pick by the New Jersey Devils.
Unlike the NBA and NFL drafts, the NHL allows college hockey players to enter the draft without losing their eligibility. Players who are drafted frequently delay signing a professional contract and continue their college careers. Fortunately for Cornell, LeNeveu, who highly values his education, has committed to another year on the Hill.
“Being drafted was an honor although it means almost nothing in the future of my career. I am privileged to now be part of an organization that is co-owned by arguably the best hockey and sports participant that ever lived,” said LeNeveu.
In his 14 starts between the pipes for the Red during the 2001-2002 season, LeNeveu recorded a national-best 1.50 goals allowed average, and a fourth-best .936 save percentage. He was twice named ECAC Rookie of the Week and ECAC Goaltender of the Week, and selected to the ECAC All-Rookie team. LeNeveu was recently selected to attend the Canadian Junior Hockey Team’s development camp in August, after which he could be chosen to compete at the World Junior Hockey Championship in December.
“I am extremely excited for the upcoming season. The team has a great incoming freshman class and probably the best returning players in the country. My total focus and concentration is on my next year here at Cornell. I look forward to bringing home the championship with my teammates and I can’t wait for the season to get underway.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach