VANCOUVER - Despite having never been to Chicago, Kirby Dach is already looking forward to calling it home.
"It's a city where I want to spend the rest of my career," said Dach, who is the newest member of the Blackhawks after they selected the 18-year-old with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft on Friday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. "Hopefully, I'll fall in love with it and it falls in love with me."
If Dach develops into the kind of franchise-changing player the Blackhawks believe he can, Chicago will embrace the center who has the kind of stature - both physical and mental - to be a force at both ends of the ice.
When his name was called Friday night - following the selections of Jack Hughes to the Devils and Kaapo Kakko to the Rangers - it was a culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
"As a kid, when you hit your head to the pillow you're always dreaming about hearing your name called in the draft, and to have this moment finally come is awesome," Dach said. "I've worked so hard to get to this point in my life and it's an amazing accomplishment, but I know the work is only starting."
Dach caught the Blackhawks' eye with a stellar season with Saskatoon of the WHL during which the St. Albert, Alberta, native - though he calls Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta his hometown - scored 25 goals and added 48 assists in 62 regular-season games.
Video: Sights and Sounds: Blackhawks take Kirby Dach third
At 6-foot-4, 198 pounds, Dach is an imposing figure on the ice who also possesses a deft scoring touch. But perhaps Dach's greatest attribute is his hockey acumen.
"I've just always had a love for the game and I've been able to kind of see things a little bit differently and understand the game quickly," Dach said. "It doesn't take much for me to kind of understand what's going on in a game and I think I can step into a system right away. That knowledge has helped me along the way to being successful."
Dach's hockey smarts and dedication were something evident early on, according to his father, Dale, a former college and junior player himself.
"He's always been completely focused," Dale Dach said. "I didn't have to really push him. At times we tried to pull the reins back but at the same time you don't want to take that out of him. He's very competitive and very driven. What he wants he'll work extremely hard to get."
Despite his exploits on the ice, Kirby Dach has remained grounded and credits his parents for steering him in the right direction.
"They did a good job of raising me and my siblings and making sure we're polite and nice people first before we are athletes," Dach said. "At the end of the day, it's the friendships and the bonds you're going to have for the rest of your life because you can't play hockey forever."
Video: Stan Bowman on selecting Kirby Dach
Dach's favorite players growing up included Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews. The prospect of playing with Toews and Patrick Kane "makes you a little star struck," according to Dach.
"Those are guys who have been in the NHL forever it seems and have been at the top of their game for so long and have accomplished so many great things," Dach added. "To be able to get in the dressing room with them and pick their brain about things and kind of learn and watch what they do is going to be tremendous for me."
As thrilled as Dach is to be joining the Blackhawks, the team is just as enthused.
"He's a great kid," President & CEO John McDonough said. "You don't want to see yourself picking No. 3 - we want to be picking 31st - but I think we have the right guy. You can't teach size. He's got great scoring ability and he's very personable. I think he's going to be a good fit for the Blackhawks."
It's a fit that Dach is eager to establish, especially for an Original Six team.
"The players, coaching staff and management group the Blackhawks have has done an unbelievable job of building this team and creating them into champions," Dach said. "I just want to step in and learn from those guys and see what it takes to be a winner at that level and have a lot of success with them."