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Jul. 1—Haverhill's Jordan Harris is watching the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals very closely.
In a year, after all, Harris expects to sign a contract with Montreal Canadiens, joining the organization that selected him in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft.
For now, though, the star defenseman is watching the Habs battle for a championship from his family's Haverhill home.
"I would love to see them win the Cup," said Harris of Montreal, which trails Tampa Bay 2-0 in the series. "Being a part of the organization, to see them have success is really exciting. It's going to be tough with them, but it would be amazing to see them win it for the people of Montreal."
Many, including websites "Thehockeywriters.com" and "Prohockeyrumors.com" thought Harris might join the Canadiens for their 2021 playoff run, had he chosen to sign after the college season. The team was in need of help on defense.
Harris, however, announced he will return to Northeastern University for his senior season — having been selected the Huskies' captain — and wait to sign with Montreal in 2022.
But he said he still feels a close link to these Canadiens. He played with members of current roster at the team's prospect camps in 2018 and 2019.
"There is a connection for sure," he said. "Being drafted by them, and talking with the staff and management, there is more meaning for me. It's fun to see guys I know playing for the Cup. "I played with (Cole) Caufield at prospect camp and World Juniors. I've played with Jake Evans and Nick Suzuki at prospect camp. I'm happy about their success."
Harris has established himself as a highly-regarded NHL prospect during his time at Northeastern. A puck-moving, left-shot defenseman, he was third on the Huskies in scoring this past winter (6 goals, 13 assists) and was a Hobey Baker Award nominee. For his career, he has 10 goals and 43 assists.
Thehockeywriters.com ranked Harris tied for No. 4 prospect in the organization, calling him "the Montreal Canadiens' most underrated prospect."
Harris strongly considered signing a pro contract this spring, before choosing to play his final college season.
"It was a very tough decision," he said. "I went back and fourth for about two weeks. I talked a lot with my parents and advisors. You always dream of signing a pro contract. You dream of getting paid for something that you love to do. So it was really tough.
"But I wanted to finish my degree and not have to worry about doing that in the future. Being named captain was also a factor. That was really special, and the accumulation of years of work. I also want the chance to play one more season in front of the Northeastern fans. The Canadiens and Northeastern were both very supporting, and I am happy with my decision."
For now, Harris is back in Haverhill, waiting to see if COVID restrictions will allow Montreal to hold a prospect camp this summer, while preparing for his senior college season.
"I just finished my summer session at Northeastern," he said. "I'm skating out of Merrimack College. I start training a little before 9 a.m. Then I skate, eat, then do some stick handling work. At night, I usually get in some film study. It's busy, but great."
HARRIS HAS RIVALRY CONFLICT
While he has been a member of the Montreal Canadiens organization since being drafted in 2018, Haverhill's Jordan Harris still can't help but also root for their archrival, the Boston Bruins.
"I was rooting for Boston as well in the playoffs," said the life-long Bruins fan with a laugh. "Trust me, I never thought I would be rooting for Montreal to win. It still feels strange. Montreal is a great organization that has treated me so well. But, five years ago, I never thought I would be cheering for Montreal."