OTTAWA – Prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker is headed to the Ottawa Senators.
The 20-year-old Canmore defenceman signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL team in the nation’s capital on Thursday (April 1).
After a mandatory quarantine, he’ll report to the Sens.
"I'm super pumped to be a Sen and to come in and hopefully try to help the Sens win some games," said Bernard-Docker during a media scrum.
"I'm pretty confident in my abilities. Like I said before, signing doesn't guarantee me anything at the end of the day, so I've got to go into Ottawa and put in the work and show that I belong and I think I'm ready to do that.
"At the same time, I'm willing to roll with the punches and do what I have to do and take advice from the coaches, take advice from some of the older guys and obviously it's a jump from college to pro-level, there's no doubt about it. I'm not oblivious. I know there's going to be a bit of a learning curve, but like I said, I think I can go in there and help the team."
Drafted by the Senators 26th overall at the 2018 NHL Draft, Bernard-Docker played the past three seasons with the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
He recorded 15 goals and 60 points over 95 career collegiate contests, and was recognized as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Defensive Defenseman of the Year for this past season.
“Jacob represents another key component of our future,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion in a press release. "He's very mature for his age and already possesses great gap and stick detail within his game. He's an exemplary leader and a winner who we're looking forward to seeing in our lineup."
Hockey experts predict Bernard-Docker will make his mark in the NHL as a shut down defenceman.
The young blue liner received praise from Senators head coach D.J. Smith, who said Bernard-Docker is a "big piece of the puzzle" to the team's future.
"In a lot of the hard times, you're waiting for these young kids to come and they're starting to come now and it certainly is exciting," said Smith.
In 2020, Bernard-Docker won a gold medal with Canada after a comeback win against Russia at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.
He played a major role in the final 90 seconds of the one-goal championship game, disrupting key Russian players looking to tie the game.
Bernard-Docker was the first of three entry-level signings from the Sens last week. The team also inked centre, and Bernard-Docker's Fighting Hawks teammate, Shane Pinto, and defenceman Max Guenette to three-year contracts.