Clemente’s Corner: Celebrini Adds Hype To This Year’s NHL Draft and Collecting

Move over, Connor Bedard. The hockey hobby will soon have a new darling.

With the two-day NHL Entry Draft scheduled to start on June 28 in Las Vegas, a new No. 1 pick is likely to put the hobby hype machine into overdrive when it comes to Macklin Celebrini.

The Boson University phenom – the consensus top overall pick – is very likely to end up in a San Jose Sharks jersey next season. After recording 32 goals and 64 points in 38 games last season in the NCAA, Celebrini has shown that he’s ready for the NHL.

For Celebrini, a move to San Jose would be good for him and great for the rebuilding Sharks. They were the worst team in the league this season. Like Bedard with the Chicago Blackhawks, Celebrini is expected to get onto the roster and play alongside forwards William Eklund, Will Smith and Logan Couture.

Here’s what you need to know about the promising star ahead of the draft:

Notable Sports Dad

Just in time for Father’s Day, it is worth noting that Celebrini’s dad Rick is a former Canadian national soccer team player at both youth and senior level. He’s now the physiotherapist and head of sports medicine and science for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer team and director of sports medicine and performance for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Celebrini also worked for the Vancouver Canucks.  

It should also be noted that Rick Celebrini does not have any trading cards or stickers since he never played at a World Cup. Collectables aside, Celebrini said his son was excited that the Sharks won the first overall pick.

“To see the Sharks win the [draft] lottery was phenomenal,” he told reporters. “Obviously, that’s different than Macklin getting selected by San Jose. That still has to happen. If it happens … that’s when the excitement starts.” 

Just Like Bedard

The younger Celebrini also played soccer as a kid, although he ultimately chose to focus on hockey. Born in 2006, Celebrini also represented his country when he laced up the skates for Team Canada at the 2024 World Junior Championship. Like Bedard, Celebrini grew up in Vancouver (both are alums of the North Shore Winter Club and played together as kids) and have dazzled fans in a Canada jersey.

Like Bedard, Celebrini also has a Chicago connection. Celebrini recorded 86 points in 50 games with the USHL’s Chicago Steel during the 2022-23 season. The team plays at the Fox Valley Ice Arena, just 40 miles west of the United Center where Bedard now plays.  

And yes, both Bedard and Celebrini grew up cheering for the Canucks. Whether the similarities between the two end there remains to be seen.

Back to California?  

Should the Sharks pick Celebrini, it would mark a homecoming of sorts for him. In fact, the Vancouver native is no stranger to San Jose. As a child, he moved to California and played for the San Jose Junior Sharks AAA team.

As a member of the U14 team, Celebrini played 54 games and recorded an astonishing 49 goals and 45 assists for 94 points. At age 16, Celebrini played for the Steel and took junior hockey by storm. 


Celebrini went on to play for Canada at IIHF World U18 championships, tallying 15 points in seven games. He scored the winning goal in overtime in a 4-3 victory against Slovakia in the bronze medal game.  

Budding Cardboard Star

Like many former junior and college players, Celebrini has been featured on very few cards.

He has appeared in just one set where you could pull his card from a pack – the 2023 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors with three base cards and in parallels (Clear Cut, Exclusives, High Gloss and Finite) and in a variety of inserts like Prospectus Momentous.

He also has a UD Game Dated Moments card when he scored his first goal at the 2024 World Junior Championship. In addition, collectors can scour eBay for a chance to bid on his only appearance on a card for the Chicago Steel, part of a team-issued 2023 set that was a promo night giveaway.   

It’s likely Celebrini will be included in next year’s Upper Deck flagship set (once he makes his NHL debut) and in a variety of 2024-25 season products. In the meantime, let the hobby hype begin.

Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on X/Twitter @ClementeLisi.

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Author: Clemente Lisi

Clemente Lisi is a lifelong Rangers fan who first started collecting cards in 1986. He collects both vintage and modern with a focus on rookie cards. Follow him on Twitter @ClementeLisi.

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