Montreal Canadiens select Juraj Slafkovsky with first pick of the NHL Draft

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The Montreal Canadiens selected Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick of the 2022 NHL draft on Thursday.

The 18-year-old left wing became the first Slovakian to ever be picked first overall in the draft.

Slafkovsky excelled for Slovakia at the 2022 Winter Olympics, leading the tournament with seven goals in seven games to earn MVP honours while helping the country capture the bronze medal.

Speaking to ESPN after being presented with his Canadiens jersey, Slafkosvky was lost for words.

"It’s unbelievable, I still can’t believe that this actually happened," he said.

"When I heard from Slovakia, I was like 'what is happening'. It's just a special moment in my life."

When asked how he thought his family and friends would have reacted to the news, being 2am local time in Slovakia, Slafkosvky said "I think people are going crazy, they have to be... I think they are all awake."

With the second pick, the New Jersey Devils selected another Slovakian in defenseman Simon Nemec.

"This is a special night for Slovak hockey," Slafkovsky said.

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