That idea is really exciting. Just thinking back when we were both kids playing in small-town community rinks and now we're on the same team in Swift. It's a great experience."
- Dillon Heatherington
CALGARY, AB -- Dillon Heatherington has a habit of running into Calgary Flames prospect Coda Gordon.
The 2013 NHL Draft eligible defenceman first caught up with Gordon, the Flames' sixth pick in 2012, as 10-year-olds at spring hockey with Professional Hockey Development in Calgary. Nearly seven years later, Heatherington joined the Western Hockey League's Swift Current Broncos -- Gordon's junior club.
He wouldn't mind one more reunion.
"That idea is really exciting," Heatherington said. "Just thinking back when we were both kids playing in small-town community rinks and now we're on the same team in Swift. It's a great experience."
Of course, there's also the thrill of being drafted by his hometown team.
The Calgary product grew up playing in the Crowchild Minor Hockey Association and played his bantam hockey with the Bronks before pulling on a Flames jersey -- that of the Calgary Flames Midget AAA program -- before jumping to the WHL's Broncos.
"I've grown up watching the Flames since I was a little kid and have been a fan," Heatherington said. "It'd be amazing."
The 6-foot-3, 196-pound rearguard has put himself in contention to be plucked with one of Calgary's latter first rounders after a strong second half of the season saw him jump to 31st among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final ranking.
But Heatherington isn't going to be reading too much into the ranking.
"I try not to read too much," he said. "I like taking it day-by-day because that's the easiest for me. It keeps me focused on the task at hand. It is pretty easy, with the rankings, to get ahead of yourself."
It's a lesson he observed from blueline partner Reece Scarlett.
In 2011, Scarlett was ranked 57th heading into the draft but didn't hear his name called until the New Jersey Devils plucked the Sherwood Park, AB. product in the sixth round, 159th overall.
Scarlett's story has helped Heatherington's preparation "a ton."
"Especially because he was ranked higher and didn't go until the later rounds," he said. "He's talked me through it, saying that it doesn't really matter when or where you go, it's what you do after it."
Meaning Heatherington, who scored four goals and 27 points in 71 games this year, isn't necessarily hung up on hearing his name called in the first round.
Heeding Scarlett's advice, it's what happens after the draft that is most important.
"To me, it doesn't really matter," he said. "As soon as you hit Day 1 at training camp, everyone is back to an even plain."
Fortunately for Heatherington, if he isn't nabbed among the first 30 players called on draft day, we won't have to wait much longer. In previous years, the first round of the draft has traditionally been held on Friday with rounds 2-7 the following Saturday.
With all seven rounds coming in one day on Sunday, June 30th, Heatherington's anxiousness is guaranteed to be eased quickly.
"That's one of the toughest parts of the previous drafts is guys who didn't go in the first round and having that extra sleep," he said. "It'll be nice to get it over with in one day."
Until draft day, Heatherington has hunkered down at the Edge School for Athletes -- where Gordon played before joining the Broncos -- working out and pondering his draft fate.
Which he hopes sets the stage for one more reunion.