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Calgary kid Carroll gets draft homecoming

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

I heard my Mom and my sister screaming and I kind of knew that I got picked. It ended up being Calgary and I’m really excited.Austin Carroll

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Austin Carroll’s day started off by celebrating a milestone for a close friend.

He capped it by reveling one of his own.

After waking up to find pal Brendan Lemieux of the Barrie Colts was the first pick of the Buffalo Sabres to kick off the second day of the 2014 NHL Draft, Carroll became the last pick the Calgary Flames would make Saturday.

“I woke up to … my good buddy, Brendan Lemieux went as the first pick today, so my Mom woke me up to show me that on TV,” Carroll said. “Ever since that I was just kind of watching it on TV, making breakfast, hanging out with my Mom and some friends.

“Then I heard my Mom and my sister screaming and I kind of knew that I got picked. It ended up being Calgary and I’m really excited.”

That excitement is understandable.

The Victoria Royals right winger, of course, is a Calgary kid.

“I’m ecstatic. It’s my hometown – I was born there – so I’m really excited to come back there,” Carroll said. “It’s a good organization to be with and I’m super excited.”

“My grandparents have season tickets there so whenever I’m in town or when I lived there they used to take me a good amount. I grew up a huge Flames fan – Jarome Iginla was always my favourite player – it’s pretty surreal being 20 and getting draft by them.”

Yes, the 20-year-old is very familiar to the Flames.

Last year, Carroll even joined Royals teammate Keegan Kanzig in Calgary’s summer development camp. He’ll do so again this year -- this time as Flames property.

And because of it he’ll feel right at home.

“I got a little heads up going into camp,” he said. “I met all of the people in the organization last year so I definitely have a little heads up going into camp.”

Calgary’s camp last summer wasn’t his only direct connection to the Flames, either. Carroll spent time living in Arizona before joining the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL and eventually the Royals.

Needless to say, he’s been on the radar of Flames general manager Brad Treliving for some time.

“I knew Austin a little bit,” Treliving admitted. “Really good story. We had a chance to watch him growing up out there. Originally a Calgary guy. I don’t know if people realize that. They were in Calgary and moved down to Arizona a number of years ago.

“(He) really took a big step this year in talking to people with Victoria. I had a little background on him, but our scouts here made that selection. That wasn’t a pick from the old Arizona guy.

“That was a guy our guys saw a lot of in Victoria and liked him.”

Carroll had an inkling the Flames might take him.

Though he didn’t join other Flames prospects at the Young Stars Classic last September, Calgary kept tabs on the 6-foot-2, 206-pounder.

“I talked to them a few times throughout the year so I knew they were a little interested,” he said. “I didn’t know for sure but I had a little bit of an idea.

“It definitely feels good to know that a team likes the way I play and has the confidence in me to draft me. Definitely being there last year and not going to rookie camp but getting drafted by them this year definitely shows that there is people in the organization that really think I will fit in there.”

And that’s reason enough for Carroll to celebrate.

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