A small cheer erupted from a cluster within the Saturday morning crowd at Nationwide Arena when the Blackhawks announced Bill Sweatt as their first of two 2nd round selections (35th overall).
To see where he played his hockey growing up, all you have to do is go to Roosevelt Road and head west… way west. The Sweatt family is from Elburn, a comfortable community rapidly overtaking the cornfields about 45 miles west of Chicago.
Sweatt spent five years with Team Illinois before being summoned to join the National Development Training Program squad for a year, which in turn led to a spot on the Colorado College roster in 2006-07. In addition to his hockey talents, Sweatt is an excellent student, so he had a number of colleges from which to choose.
Colorado won out in part because of the scenery (“I can see Pike’s Peak from my dorm room”) and because his older brother, Lee, was on the team there.
He led the Colorado College team in freshman scoring last season and was also selected the top forward at the IIHF U-18 World Championships on the gold-medal winning U.S. team.
The formal reports and the informal chatter among scouts on the floor of Nationwide Arena both carry the same message: Sweatt is a great skater who creates chances with his speed; a conscientious two-way player who works hard on every shift.
“I think the two-way aspect of the game is very important,” he said. “I’ll play any role I’m asked to play, and I’m really happy the Blackhawks selected me. It’s the hometown team!”