SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Zac Larraza
showed up to the second day of the 2011 NHL Draft wearing a sharp-looking suit. He left wearing a Coyotes sweater and huge smile across his face.
Using their eighth and final pick of the draft, the Coyotes selected Larraza, a Scottsdale native who learned how to play hockey inside the rinks around the Valley, with the 196th pick.
“He’s a big, strong physical player and we’re thrilled to have him,” Coyotes G.M. Don Maloney said.
Larraza was floored when his name was called.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” Larraza said from deep inside the Xcel Energy Center. “I’ve just had a great time here this weekend and now finishing it off with this, it’s just been absolutely amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end it.”
Larraza (6-2, 194 pounds) is a left wing who has made the rounds within Arizona’s youth hockey scene. Eventually he was chosen to play in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, and next he’s headed to the University of Denver to play more hockey with an elite college program.
“I think my biggest strength is my size and I still have room to grow,” Larraza said.
Growing up in Scottsdale, most of Larraza’s friends were playing baseball and football outside in the bright, sunny weather. His dad, a Michigan native, introduced him to hockey and he was hooked.
Now, Larraza’s long-term goal is to play for the team he grew up rooting for across the Valley.
“It’s just an incredible feeling and it’s starting to hit me more and more,” Larraza said moments after the draft ended. “There are no words for me to explain what just happened.”
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