Nathan Smith needed a minute to compose himself.
Sure, he'd seen trusted American media sources toss his name out as a possibility for the 2022 USA Men's Olympic Hockey Team roster, but the 23-year-old forward knew the depth of talent he'd be competing against for a spot.
Heck, even his head coach at the University of Minnesota-Mankato, Mike Hastings, tipped him off that he was under strong consideration for the squad. That was about as good of a source as any, especially since Hastings would be named an assistant coach shortly after that confidential conversation with Smith.
Even with all that in the back of his mind, the mentality of a hockey player took over.
Don't get too high. Don't get too low.
Well, now he was on the phone with the general manager of the USA Men's Olympic Hockey Team - John Vanbiesbrouck - and he was being offered one of the coveted 25 roster spots.