SANDFIELD—While he is originally from Newmarket, (Thomas) Jackson Edward, a defenceman with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) London Knights team has been recently drafted by the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). The young man certainly has a lot of family roots on Manitoulin and is a frequent visitor to the Island.
“The NHL draft was shown on television, but I couldn’t get the right channel to see it,” said proud grandma Isobel Edward of Sandfield. “My son texted me telling me my grandson had been drafted. I started crying.” She pointed out of 250 kids drafted, 35 were OHL players and the rest were from Europe. “For two years, the European kids continued to train but Canada’s junior players couldn’t because of the pandemic. In his (OHL) rookie year, Jackson couldn’t even play and train like he normally does.”
“The Edward family originally came to the island almost 150 years ago,” stated Isobel. “Tom, my (late) husband was born in Sandfield. The Island has been the go-to place for the entire Edward family. I come back to the Island every weekend. Jackson will be here either (last) weekend or on the long weekend. He loves to come here and he has a brother and a sister, they are all into athletics. Jackson has been visiting the Island since he was born and his dad the same, since he was born. My husband was from Sudbury and came here at two weeks of age.”
The Bruins website noted that Jackson Edward was the 200th player selected, in the seventh round, in the NHL draft. “Boston was my favourite team growing up,” he said, naming Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand as his favourite Bruins. “It’s exciting to be drafted by such a good franchise.”
Jackson said he grew up playing hockey, but it wasn’t until the past few years that he was considered a high-end NHL date prospect. “I started playing at a young age but I didn’t play at a high level and was never touted as a top player until just the last couple of years.”
“I tell him it is every kid’s dream to play hockey, to play in the NHL. And he says ‘yes, grammie,” said Isobel. He was selected to go to the world select team in Philadelphia before his minor midget year with the Richmond Hill Coyotes Under 16 triple A team.
The 18-year-old defenceman spent the 2021-22 season with the London Knights of the OHL, a season which he enjoyed. “I think I’m with the best in junior hockey,” said Jackson. “I think I have a lot of potential, and I’m really happy I’m with them so they can help me get (to the NHL).” He played in 54 games for the Knights, where he recorded six assists. He also spent time with the York Simcoe Express U16AAA team in the ETAHL, recording 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points in 33 games. He will also spend this season with London.
Elite Prospects 2022 NHL draft wrote of Jackson Edward, “the physical style of Edward’s game leaps out immediately. He’s violent, and he uses that violence to emphatically kill plays at the blue line and end the cycle. If given space while receiving the puck, Edward often makes a positive play. He’ll even draw in forechecking pressure by skating towards it or cutting back, then hitting the gas pedal before starting the breakout.”
Josh Thomas of FC Hockey wrote, “he is an extremely raw prospect, but the flashes of high-end skill leave you wanting more. He skates really well for his size, which pairs along with some pretty nifty and shifty hands that he likes to showcase on the rush.”
Jackson Edward, 18 is the son of Thomas Hamilton Edward. The defenceman is six foot two and weights 194 pounds. He will spend this season with the London Knights, but will also take part in the Bruins rookie prospect training camp.