I know they've worked so hard and I see the sacrifices they've made just like I have. To be able to go through this with them is pretty neat and they're all great players and great kids. That's definitely really cool. - Hunter Shinkaruk
CALGARY, AB -- Come June 30th, the Prudential Center in New Jersey could have a distinctly Calgary feel to it.
The home of the 2013 NHL Draft could see up to four Calgarians selected in the first round, with Hunter Shinkaruk, Josh Morrissey, Morgan Klimchuk and Dillon Heatherington as candidates to go among the first 30 picks in Newark.
It makes the draft that much more special, Shinkaruk admitted.
"We've grown up together and we've played each other for a long time so to be able to go through this process with them is pretty cool," said the former Royals standout. "I know they've worked so hard and I see the sacrifices they've made just like I have. To be able to go through this with them is pretty neat and they're all great players and great kids. That's definitely really cool."
Shinkaruk, who tallied 37 goals and 86 points in 64 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers, leads the Calgary foursome into draft day as the sixth ranked North American skater on Central Scouting's final list. Klimchuk finished 25th while Morrissey is 27th. Heatherington sits at 31.
Seeing friends, teammates and opponents as potential first round candidates makes the draft process that much easier.
"It's fun seeing all four of us being ranked that high," said Heatherington, who played his Bantam AAA with the Bronks. "It's definitely real exciting. I'm thankful that all of us are going down there. It'll be a little more relaxed."
Klimchuk, who played Bantam with the Bisons and Midget with the Buffaloes, said that though they're rivals in the Western Hockey League, the journey the four have shared is special.
"We've all developed as players and as people for 10 years now we've been playing against and with each other," the Regina Pats forward said. "Just seeing how everyone grows and develops and round out their game, it's pretty special going through it with guys you know and have played against."
Though he's spent the better part of a decade as teammates and opponents, Morrissey wasn't willing to dish dirt on any of the other three.
"I don't know if I've got any dirt on either of those guys," he said. "I've played a lot with Dillon growing up and also with Hunter. They're both pretty good guys. They're both clean, also. I don't have too much on either of those guys."
And while Shinkaruk steered clear of Morrissey, he did take exception -- albeit slightly -- to Klimchuk and his Bisons roots.
"I don't really have any dirt on Josh," he said. "I've played with him for a long time. Klimchuk, he played for the Bisons and I just hate the Bisons. I'm a Royals kid. That's probably the only thing I can think of.
"Dillon's a nice guy, so I guess I'm just going to go with the nice guy approach and not really chirp any of them."
In response, Klimchuk took the high road.
"They're all pretty good kids, real good players," he said. "I've got no bad things to say. I'll keep my nose clean and be the bigger person here."