GLENDALE – Not too long ago, Coyotes fan Mike Dvorak spent about 45 minutes filling out a survey the team sent to him as a season-ticket holder asking him to rate his various experiences at the games in 2013-14.
At the end of the survey, in the section designated for additional suggestions, Dvorak, who lives in east Mesa, sent the team a unique message.
|Christian Dvorak at the 2014 NHL Draft. Photo by Getty Images. |
“I basically wrote that it would help the Coyotes out a lot if they drafted Christian Dvorak at the 2014 Draft,” Dvorak recalled on Thursday.
Christian, you see, is Mike’s nephew.
It’s a fun story for Mike to tell, especially considering the Coyotes did, in fact, unkowingly follow his advice and select Christian Dvorak with the 58th overall pick in last month’s draft in Philadelphia.
“We really like his smarts, instincts and his overall hockey ability," Coyotes Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt said after drafting Dvorak, a forward who, in a season shortened by injury, notched 14 points (six goals and eight assists) in 33 games for London in 2013-14 - his first season in the Ontario Hockey League.
Mike and his wife Larissa attended the Draft along with other family members, including Mike’s brother Ed – Christian’s dad. Ed and his wife Sheila live in the Chicago area and that’s where Christian learned to play the game at such a high level.
“It was very surreal,” Mike Dvorak said. “We were sitting about eight rows away from the Coyotes table on the draft floor and we were sending very strong mental messages to Don Maloney saying ‘Go ahead and pick him!’”
He added, “We really had no idea what was going to happen. We all figured he’d go in the second round and we knew the Coyotes had two second-round picks. When we heard his name called we were very surprised and very, very happy. If he couldn’t go to the Blackhawks for my brother’s sake, we were glad he went to the Coyotes.”
|Ed, Christian and Mike Dvorak at the 2014 NHL Draft. |
Christian Dvorak and the other draft picks from 2014 attended the annual Prospect Development Camp this week here in the Valley. Mike Dvorak attended Thursday’s on-ice session at the Ice Den in Scottsdale and got to see his nephew scrimmage with the Coyotes logo on his chest for the first time.
“I was very proud of him,” Mike Dvorak said. “It was great to see him in person. I don’t get to see him too much.”
Mike, whose season tickets last season were located in section 111, is pleased his nephew is now a prospect for his home team, one he was also a season-ticket holder for in its first five seasons in Arizona.
“I texted my brother weeks before the draft that the Coyotes would be a great team for Christian to be part of,” Mike, a hockey coach, said. “I told him that because I have a lot of respect for the way the team operates. They have good people running it with Don Maloney and Dave Tippett and Sean Burke, and now the new ownership group. I think it’s a franchise on the way up, and for my nephew to get into an organization that has such a hardworking approach is great. That fits right into his personality as a player. To me it’s a perfect fit.”