VANCOUVER -- Gary Zegras patiently sat in his chair inside Rogers Arena, waiting and wondering when he'd hear his son's name announced on stage at the 2019 NHL Draft.
One thing was a given - son Trevor was going to be selected in the first round. But where, exactly, was a bit of an unknown. Zegras was the sixth-ranked North American skater in Central Scouting's final rankings, and was projected to go early in the opening round.
As names were announced, the Zegras family, including mother Julie, and Trevor's siblings Griffin and Ava, were ready to celebrate. So when the Ducks' brass stepped onto the stage, and Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray called Trevor's name, the Zegras family roared.
"It was a little more nerve-wracking than I thought it was going to be," Gary says, still trying to process the emotions of seeing his son achieve his dream. "Mostly, we were just excited for him. He's worked so hard to get to this spot. It was a little bit of relief. It's exciting."
Zegras has ties to Southern California, his uncle currently living in the San Diego area. "They're excited for him coming that way," Gary says with a smile. "We're looking forward to it."
In a moment of reflection, Gary tried to put into words what it was like to be a part of an unforgettable moment. "I don't think I can," he says. "Emotional. Big time. Very happy for him, but then I look at my other kids and my wife, and I know how much everybody sacrificed in our family for him to do the things he did. Just proud of everybody, the whole family. Cousins, uncles, friends. It takes a lot of people and a lot of support, and he's had that.
"Thinking about all that stuff, all the years we've traveled around the world watching him," Gary says. "As a little guy, just loving playing hockey. To get to this moment, it's surreal. I don't think it has sunk in yet."
The Zegras household in New York has long been loyal to the New York Rangers, until now. "The Rangers gear is getting packed up as we speak," Gary says with a laugh. "We'll all be wearing our orange."
As part of a tight-knit U.S. National Team Development Program, Trevor naturally had a desire to hear his name called amongst his teammates.
"After the [first two picks], there were so many great players," Gary says. "A lot of his buddies. You want to hear his name as soon as possible. But with that being said, you get drafted, period, that's unbelievable. But if you get to be a first-round pick, no matter where it is, that's incredible. But his buddies are on the NTDP team. He likes to be a part of that group. As it was ticking down, you were hoping it was going to be soon. It was nice to hear his name called.
"We've been thinking about it for a while," says Gary. "It's even better than we imagined."