Matheson was tapped by Panthers (right). Fournier signs with Chicago (centre). Culkin picked by Calgary Flames (bottom).
The Lion has become a Panther.
As in the Florida Panthers, who selected former Lac St. Louis Lions defenceman Michael Matheson 23rd overall at the National Hockey League entry draft in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Matheson, the pride of Pointe Claire, was one of three local hockey products who had their named called at the seven-round draft of 211 players.
Dorval's Dillon Fournier was taken in the second round, 45th overall, by the Chicago Blackhawks, while Ryan Culkin of Pierrefonds went in the fifth round, 124th overall, to the Calgary Flames.
The smooth-skating Matheson spent last season playing with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League, while Fournier (Rouyn-Noranda) and Culkin (Quebec Remparts) skated in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
All three defencemen attended the Pro Action Sport-Études program at John Rennie High School.
Matheson said getting drafted is a moment he'll cherish forever.
"It was a great experience," said Matheson, who was accompanied to the draft by a group of 25 family and friends and former coaches, including Kirk Mullin of Hockey West Island, Jon Goyens of the Lac St. Louis Lions, Jim Webster of Webster Academy and Dubuque head coach Jim Montgomery, a former Montreal Canadien.
"It was pretty surreal and it still feels that way," the 18-year-old Matheson said of the draft.
"I don't think it will completely sink in till I go down (to Florida) next Sunday for their development camp."
Matheson, the top-rated Quebecer heading into the draft, said were mixed feelings of accomplishment and relief when he heard his name called in the opening round of the two-day draft.
"It's really both. I'd say most of the players get really nervous beforehand because they get worried that they'll let people down, or they won't be drafted high so they'll feel a bit embarrassed. I think the relief side goes into that.
"I wasn't really nervous waiting there," he added. "I only started thinking about it once the 20th pick came around and I said, 'Great, I'd like to hear my name now.'"
"But I was pretty calm throughout the whole thing."
Matheson had no idea which NHL team would select him after meeting with so many NHL teams leading up to the draft.
"I had met with Florida that day, so I had a little bit of an idea. But then again, it's really hard to tell."
Matheson is somewhat familiar with the Panthers team.
"I haven't seen every single one of their games. But at the same time, I definitely know from the success they had this year that they are a good team."
Matheson, who begins classes at Boston College in early September, does not have a hard timeline of when he'd like to become an NHL player.
"It's pretty tough to say. Hopefully if I continue to develop, maybe in two or three years."
Another former Lion, goalie François Brassard, went 166th overall to the Ottawa Senators.