Pittsburgh, PA - Former Esmark Stars AAA Hockey goaltender Jake Kucharski was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes on Day Two of the 2018 NHL Draft.
The 6’4"/193 lbs. native of Erie, PA, who began his climb up the ladder of development with the Esmark program's U16 club during the 2015-16 season, was selected in the seventh round, 197th overall.
During the '15-'16 season, Kucharski posted a 1.77 goals against average and .917 save percentage for the Stars, including three shut-outs, in 14 NAPHL games. Overall, in 32 Esmark 16U AAA game appearances, he finished with a .896% save percentage and a a 2.41 GAA with five shut-outs.
After the '15-'16 season, Kucharski signed a tender agreement with the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). In addition, he was also selected in the ninth round of the 2016 USHL Draft, pick #140, by the Chicago Steele.
Kucharski spent most of the 2016-17 with Austin. where he played in 34 games with a save percentage of .894 and posted a goals against average of 3.31.
During the 2017-18 campaign, Kucharski skated for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL, where he is expected to return next season.
Kucharski has also signed a letter of commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for the Providence Friars beginning with the 2019-20 season.
"I was very proud to see Jake get selected in the Draft," said Esmark Stars U16 head coach Yuri Krivokhija, who himself was selected by the Montreal Canadians in the 10th round of the 1988 NHL draft. "He has worked really hard and stayed focused on achieving his goal," Krivokhija added, "and he is now one step closer to reaching it,"
Kucharski joins former Stars players Grant Lewis (2004 draft, second round, 40th overall) and Miles Liberati (2013 Draft, seventh round, 205th overall) in being selected in the annual NHL draft.
"As both Lewis and Liberati did, Jake has parlayed the opportunity that playing with the Stars provided him ... to chase his dreams all the way to the NHL Draft," said Stars founder and General Manager Dave Kosick. "Proving that dreams, mixed with sweat and hard work, can come true."