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Bruins pick LIer Charlie McAvoy Jr. in 1st round of NHL Draft

Charlie McAvoy celebrates with the Boston Bruins after

Charlie McAvoy celebrates with the Boston Bruins after being selected 14th overall during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. Credit: Getty Images/ Bruce Bennett

BUFFALO — Charlie McAvoy Jr., who grew up in Long Beach as a diehard New York sports fan, is giving up his allegiances. But for a good reason.

On Friday, McAvoy, 18, who is entering his sophomore season at Boston University, was selected by the Bruins as the 14th pick in the NHL Draft, and the fourth defenseman overall.

“Just speechless,” said the 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman, who began skating at Long Beach Arena, a block away from where he grew up. “Just so happy to be a part of the Bruins. Got in close with them this year. I’m sure my friends at home will be happy, but kinda cutting the ties with New York sports. Boston’s an unbelievable city. I’m happy to be staying there.”

Still, the fandom runs deep.

“You grow up and you’re told not to like [the Boston teams),” he said, “but I got a Red Sox hat now, so that’s the first step, and this Bruins jersey . . . I don’t know if I can be a Pats fan, but we’ll see; give it time.”

Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch was his idol, but all things must pass. Now McAvoy, who scored 25 points in 37 games at BU, would love to mature into a player like All-Star Drew Doughty of the Kings.

First things first, however: a celebration with his father, Charlie Sr., a plumbing and heating contractor in Long Beach who helped with some of the work on the city’s arena, and his family. “Then I’ll be back at school Monday,” he said. “I’ll be working out in the morning and back in class.”

McAvoy played with the Long Island Gulls. He also skated for the Westchester Express and New Jersey Rockets before joining the U.S. national team developmental program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But he’s a Beantown boy now.

New York Sports