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Fox off to Harvard after stellar showing with US National Team

by Jason Pirie / Calgary Flames

It may have taken an entire season to sway the vote but in the end Jim Cummins got his man.

With their third round, 66th overall, selection at the 2016 NHL Draft the Calgary Flames plucked right-handed defenceman Adam Fox of the United States National Team Development Program’s (NTDP) U18 squad.

Despite being considered a potential bargain pick at number 66, it still took an ample amount of convincing over the course of the season and at the draft table by the Flames’ United States Hockey League scout.

“Jimmy fought all year for this kid,” said Flames director of scouting Tod Button. “He’s an undersized defenceman, but he’s really smart and he’s a skilled guy.”

At 5-foot-10 and 181-pounds, Fox has been described as “having good vision with an ability to make plays from the backend”.

But he’s also a project, as the Jericho, NY native – population 13,000 and change – has committed to Harvard University for the 2016-17 season.

No biggie.

Slow and steady wins the race after all.

And the Flames are willing to be patient to ensure they do just that.

With the season the swift skating rearguard pieced together, who could blame them?

As a product of the NTDP, Fox set the single-season record for points by a defenceman with 59 (nine goals, 50 assists) in 64 games.

He was also named the top defenceman at the recent U18 World Championships, where he led all blueliners with nine points (one goal, eight assists) en route to capturing a bronze medal.

One of those unforgettable moments, to be sure.

But this whole ‘getting drafted’ thing is an entirely different animal.

“Words can’t really describe the feeling right now,” Fox said. “It is something you dream of since you were a little kid. To actually hear your name is something special and something special for my family to be here and experience.

“You don’t really expect it when you’re younger, but coming here and experiencing it, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Fox is just the latest in a long line of NHL prospects hailing from Long Island in recent years.

“There’s some guys ahead of me like Sonny Milano (Columbus), Jeremy Bracco (Toronto), and Charlie McAvoy (Boston) here,” Fox said. “It’s good for Long Island hockey. It’s kind of becoming a hot bed for hockey, so it’s really good for the young kids.”

When it comes to the Stampede City, however, Fox admits he’s unfamiliar with the area.

“I know it’s a great organization, and I’m looking forward to getting there and seeing what it’s all about,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things and they’ve got a lot of young guys, so I’m excited.”

So too is Jim Cummins.

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