TORONTO -- It's been a long summer for the prospects looking to fulfill a lifelong dream and reach the NHL this fall.
But that wait came to an end Monday. At least it felt that way.
The National Hockey League Players' Association invited 39 NHL prospects and rookies here for the two-day NHLPA Rookie Showcase.
"It definitely felt more like summer yesterday than it did today," Columbus Blue Jackets forward prospect Sonny Milano said. "Now it feels like the season's kind of starting up."
The event included prospects from 26 of the NHL's 30 teams, including the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, No. 1 Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and No. 2 Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres.
"It's starting," Montreal Canadiens goaltending prospect Zachary Fucale said. "These things like this, it's good to be around some old teammates and some of the guys I played with at the World Juniors, and I played against a lot of the guys here. So it's good to talk to some of the guys about that."