TORONTO -- Al MacInnis, a Hall-of-Fame player who now serves as senior advisor to the general manager for the St. Louis Blues, was keeping a close eye on the prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft as they made their way through the testing floor at Toronto International Centre on Saturday.
But he followed one prospect a bit closer than others: his son Ryan, a center with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. MacInnis is No. 20 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 Draft.
"It's a good process to go through," Al MacInnis told NHL.com. "Obviously he knows a lot of these kids. He had a pretty good idea coming in here what to expect. He's been working at it. ... It's an exciting week for the boys."
It hasn't been completely easy. The Blues had Ryan on their interview list. When the younger MacInnis arrived for his face-to-face with the Blues, dad left the room.
"Any time we've discussed my son or had him in an interview, I left the room," he said. "I don't want to make him feel nervous thinking he's going to say the wrong thing all the time. And when our scouting staff is out watching him and they want to discuss Ryan, I want them to feel comfortable too. Not that they wouldn't give an honest opinion, but I think it's a little unfair. I leave the room and they discuss and we move on. I feel better doing that as well."
For Al, the NHL Scouting Combine and the draft next month at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia will be the culmination of watching his son grow from a first-timer on skates into an NHL draft pick.
"Any time you put your son on skates at age 4 or 5, they start going through the youth hockey, you see the passion and love they have for the game," he said. "Ryan was a guy like I'm sure all of these kids, he didn't sit around the sofa watching cartoons, he was always outside sitckhandling, shooting pucks.
"He got to a certain age and we put a sport court down in our backyard in St. Louis [and] he took full advantage of it. He always wants to be on the ice. Even during the offseason he'd want to shoot pucks. I can see the passion in him for the game of hockey. When you have that, that's why these kids are here today."