BRONDBY, Denmark – This year’s NHL Draft is just a few days away and I’ve started thinking back to my Draft in Ottawa in 2008 when I was chosen by the Coyotes with the No. 8 pick.
I was super excited about the Draft. It was a big event and something every kid who plays hockey wants to experience. Once we got to Ottawa I was very eager for the Draft to start, but I slept fine the night before. My parents were with me and they were just as excited as I was. My agents were with me also and they made sure I knew how it was all going to go. Little did I know I would be drafted early. I was lucky I didn't have to wait too long.
I spoke to about 20 teams at the NHL Combine and then four teams in Ottawa just before the Draft. I didn't think the Coyotes were going to draft me. I wasn’t sure who would. At that point you just hope to get taken so the dream about getting drafted becomes a reality.
It was a lot of fun hearing my name being called on the big stage. What made it so special was that of all the hockey people in the world to call my name – and make my dream come true – it was Wayne Gretzky, the best player ever. That was such a special moment for me.
All things considered, the Draft went by pretty quickly. My favorite part was when I got to sit in the Coyotes suite in the arena wearing my own NHL Draft jersey with my mom and dad sitting next to me. They were such a huge part of me getting drafted, and being able to share the moment with them was the best part, after hearing my name getting called.
I was asked recently if it feels like my Draft happened seven years ago or seven minutes ago. At times it seems like it was quite a while ago because I’ve had so many new and exciting things happen for me on a personal level with the Coyotes, including our deep run in the playoffs in 2012. But once I start watching this year’s Draft I'm sure it will feel like mine happened just yesterday.
My advice to the prospects attending this year’s Draft is to enjoy it because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they shouldn’t take for granted. It’s a very special moment in a young hockey player’s life so it should be enjoyed and remembered.
Thanks for reading.