Los Angeles Kings select Quinton Byfield, highest-drafted Black player in NHL history

Center Quinton Byfield of the OHL's Sudbury Wolves was taken No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, making him the highest-drafted Black player in NHL history.

"Being in the record books for anything is definitely super special, but that especially,'' Byfield said. "My dad and mom didn't play hockey or didn't have too much knowledge about that. Kind of just growing the game together. I think it just shows that there's a lot of opportunity for everyone in the world and that you can play every sport and be successful in it.''

Byfield, 18, is a native of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. His father, Clinton, is originally from Jamaica.

"Quinton is an exceptional young man and talented player with a very bright future," Kings general manager Rob Blake said. "We're proud to be adding him to our organization and look forward to the next stages of his development and a promising career in L.A."

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane (2009, Atlanta Thrashers) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (2013, Nashville Predators) were the previously highest-drafted Black players in the NHL, at No. 4.

After Byfield was selected, Kane tweeted, "Congratulations to @byfield55 on his 2nd Overall selection and becoming the highest drafted black player in history."

Byfield said he hoped to one day help in hockey's diversity initiatives.

"The league is doing a really a really good job with all the inclusivity and just the awareness that they're getting out," he said. "I think it would be really nice if I got involved with that and spread the positivity and just be a positive role model.''

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound center has posted 143 points and a plus-38 rating in 109 regular-season games in his two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. He was the No. 2-ranked North American skater behind Alexis Lafreniere, who was selected first overall by the New York Rangers.

"I'm a pretty confident guy," Byfield said. "I definitely think I could step into the NHL next year, but I know it's a really big jump from the OHL and really challenging."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.