Whitefish native Jack Sanderson was drafted fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Sanderson is currently enrolled at the University of North Dakota where he was planning to play the 2020-2021 season.
The selection puts him in rare company as only the second Montana-born player ever to be drafted into the NHL, following in the footsteps of Bill Lindsay who was born in Bigfork and played in the NHL from 1988-2004. Sanderson is the first Treasure State product to ever go in the first round.
Sanderson moved to Calgary when he was around 10 years old but has split time between Canada and Montana ever since and was actually living in Whitefish this past summer preparing for his freshman year at the University of North Dakota. The 18-year old has also lived in Plymouth, Michigan while competing within the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. His father Geoff Sanderson played 17 seasons in the NHL and tallied 355 goals with 700 career points.
Sanderson previously played for the Calgary Flames U-15 team, Edge School Prep/Elite, and USNTDP Juniors. He was the first American to be drafted in this year’s entry draft.
It is not clear yet as to whether Sanderson will immediately go into the Senators system or if he will stay at UND.