Long before John Beecher appeared on the radar of National Hockey League scouts, he was a 6-year-old in Elmira, N.Y., who wasn’t a big hockey fan.
“I kept telling my parents (Bill and Natasha) that it was too slippery on the ice,” Beecher, now 17, remembered. “But my older brother (Bryce) was into the sport, and we played a lot of street hockey throughout the summers. Once I figured out how to stand on my own two feet on the ice, I fell in love with it.”
Now in his second season with the U.S. National Team Development Program and first with its Under-18 team, Beecher did more than fall in love with the game. He excelled at it. And because of his potential, the center this past November earned a B rating by NHL Central Scouting on its Players to Watch list and is a candidate to be selected in the second or third round of the 2019 NHL draft.
Beecher, 6-foot-3, 204 pounds, is a left-handed-shooting power forward who likes to use his speed and size to drive to the net. So far this season, he’s totaled 14 points (3-11-14) in 26 games, one year after he notched 41 points (17-24-41) in 60 matches with the Under-17 squad.