Wilmington, MA --
It’s been a fun and interesting road to professional hockey for Bruins forward Zach Hamill
, but the Boston Bruins prospect hopes that journey does not hit too many potholes or sudden stops before it intersects with Causeway Street.
Hamill, the team’s first-round pick, eighth overall, in the 2007 Entry Draft, earned his top prospect status by dazzling scouts and spectators during his four-plus seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League and from the day he first took the ice in juniors, Hamill did nothing but light up the scoreboard en route to being named his team’s Rookie of the Year for the 2004-2005 season.
Through the end of his second season in Everett, the young gun became the team’s all-time leader in assists. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player after leading the WHL in scoring during the 2006-2007 season and was the team’s all-time points leader by the end of his junior hockey career.
Before the 2007-08 season it was clear that Hamill was an on-ice force and opponents began to take extra measures in an effort to keep his production down. However, like many players in that kind of situation, Hamill viewed the extra attention as part of the game.
“When you’re forced to match up against one of the top defensemen or one of the top checking lines it definitely can be tough,” Hamill said recently from his stall in the rookie locker room at Ristuccia Arena. “At the same time, it helps to turn the focus off of the rest of the guys on ice and creates more chances for them to work with the puck and score goals.”
|Hamill at 2007 Development Camp. |
While touting a resume capable of exciting any team’s GM, Hamill has come to Boston ready to compete and hopes to earn a spot on this year’s roster. But given the number of spots and the equally daunting number of talented players on the Boston docket, Hamill understands that the club’s farm team in Providence may also be his next destination.
“I’ve worked hard this summer to get bigger, stronger and faster all at that the same time,” he said. “And improving my power skating and my explosive speed on the ice has been one of the biggest things I’ve needed to work on.”
Despite his youth, Hamill has insight into the world of professional hockey – insight garnered by two Bruins Development Camps and nine playoff games (and seven regular season games) with the P-Bruins.
After concluding his WHL career last spring, Hamill earned the chance to play in a few games in the AHL and the top pick quickly learned that he needed to work even harder than he had previously in order to continue to perform well at the professional level.
“Every step you move up towards the NHL, guys keep getting tougher, stronger and faster,” Hamill noted. “Everyone out here is a really good player; you don’t make it here by accident.
“We’re all pro hockey players so it really keeps you aware of where you need to get to make it here.”
And now that he’s here, Hamill, and all of the other Bruins rookies know, that they have to work their hardest to ensure that the powers that be keep them here in the Hub of Hockey.