Bradly Nadeau puts on a Carolina Hurricanes jersey while standing next to Coach Rod Brind’Amour after being selected in the first round of the NHL draft Wednesday night in Nashville, Tenn. AP Photo/George Walker IV

University of Maine men’s hockey coach Ben Barr was on his way home from Nashville on Thursday afternoon, after spending Wednesday night celebrating an important milestone with one of his newest players.

Incoming freshman forward Bradly Nadeau, 18, was selected in the first round, 30th overall, by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2023 National Hockey League draft.

“For them to let us be a part of that is pretty cool,” Barr said in a Zoom call with media. “He can shoot the puck probably as well as any player that’s in the draft. When you can do one or two things as well as anybody in the world, that makes you stand out.”

The 5-foot-10, 163-pound Nadeau is the first Black Bear to be selected in the first round since Barrett Heisten was selected 20th overall in the 1999 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Overall, Nadeau is the fourth UMaine player selected in the first round. Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Kariya was the fourth overall pick in 1993 by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Peter Ferraro was picked 24th overall by the New York Rangers in 1992.

A native of Saint-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick, Nadeau was named the British Columbia Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player and earned the Brett Hull Trophy as the league’s scoring leader with 45 goals and 68 assists in 54 games. Nadeau guided the Penticton Vees to back-to-back BCHL championships and was named the 2023 playoff MVP.

Nadeau’s brother, Josh, a 5-foot-8, 158-pound forward, also will join the Black Bears this fall. Josh Nadeau, 19, scored 44 goals with 66 assists  in 54 games while also playing for Pendicton last season. The brothers were the top two scorers in the BCHL.

Maine went 15-16-5 and reached the opening round of the Hockey East tournament last season, Barr’s second as head coach. That was an improvement from the 7-22-4 record Maine posted in 2021-22, Barr’s first season on the bench.

The Nadeau brothers also could be joined by recruit Artem Duda, a Russian defenseman who was picked in the second round, 36th overall, in the 2022 draft by the Arizona Coyotes. The university is working out eligibility issues on Duda, Barr said.

“It definitely brings some good notoriety to the program when you have draft picks, high draft picks, in your program. At the end of the day, that’s really not what matters,” Barr said. “What matters is we have the right guys in that room to keep pushing the program forward. Brad Nadeau and Josh Nadeau wouldn’t be coming here, nor would any of our other incoming players if they didn’t feel that we’re all pushing in the same direction.”

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