Beau Bennett of the United States is the 20th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the NHL hockey draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles Friday, June 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
QUESTION: So the Pittsburgh Penguins. There are a few players there?
BEAU BENNETT: For sure. Crosby and Malkin, definitely names you know of. And definitely a great opportunity going in that direction.
QUESTION: How about No. 20?
BEAU BENNETT: No. 20? You know what, being the first Californian definitely deserving, and Emerson Etem could have gotten picked there as well. An honor to share this with my friends and family in California is unbelievable.
QUESTION: Did they tell you anything they liked about you as a player? Did you think this might be a possibility?
BEAU BENNETT: They liked my offense. Definitely bring some creativity to the game. I can create off the right side or the left side. Definitely need to work on some things, as well, with my defensive play and strength. I think going forward, I'll get better in some aspects.
QUESTION: Who was your favorite player growing up?
BEAU BENNETT: Favorite player was the L.A. Kings, and Ray Ferraro was my favorite player. I couldn't tell you why. Just watching him as a young kid. He was definitely the guy I loved.
QUESTION: Are you part of the group that started following Gretzky when he came here?
BEAU BENNETT: Definitely, we followed Gretzky, but kind of more of a roller hockey pushed us into ice hockey. We had the passion for roller, and that translated into ice.
QUESTION: That's what happens when you're from California?
BEAU BENNETT: Exactly.
QUESTION: Can you talk about being here in California and being drafted?
BEAU BENNETT: It's unbelievable. Just friends and family. As I said, having my grandma here, my aunt, my cousins, my family, it's an unreal experience. It shows interest in hockey and how it's growing in California and coming west. It's been fun.
QUESTION: Did you look at the centers that Pittsburgh has, and do you think in three or four years you could be playing with one of those guys?
BEAU BENNETT: I hope so. If I keep maturing physically in the same aspect, I hope to be in that spot playing some unbelievable centers that I grew up idolizing and watching.
QUESTION: What did you say to yourself when you went to bed last night?
BEAU BENNETT: I slept pretty well. I didn't know what to think. Going first, or wherever I got drafted, I was still going to be playing hockey. I still want to play hockey for a long time. This is just a stepping stone for my career.
QUESTION: With all the centers in Pittsburgh, you spent the last portion of the season at the position. Do you stick to the wing now, or is that up to your coaches at DU?
BEAU BENNETT: Up to the coaches. Coaches’ decision. Wherever they slot me, I'll be willing to play. I want to be a player for a long time, and wherever that may be, I'm excited.
QUESTION: Did you play for Junior Kings?
BEAU BENNETT: I played for the Junior Kings, yes.
QUESTION: What did you learn from Jack about playing the pro game?
BEAU BENNETT: Definitely was a rah-rah guy. He kept you honest for all the practices, all the games. You can't let up when you're around Jack. You've got to go full speed all the time. So definitely the more professional approach to the game.
QUESTION: Talk about something about yourself that people might find funny or interesting?
BEAU BENNETT: Interesting? I play piano. Growing up my parents made me play five years of an instrument. Continue to play hockey. I chose piano and stuck with it. Don't take lessons anymore, but I still can get on the keyboard and jam a little bit.
QUESTION: Classical, jazz, rock?
BEAU BENNETT: Like modern stuff. So whatever's out, whatever's fun to play.
QUESTION: I know that -- have you spoken to guys like Dave who also played DU and also were draft picks as well?
BEAU BENNETT: I talked to Red a little bit. He walked me around when I was down for my visit. Definitely a guy you look up to. He's a great person off the ice as well as on the ice. I hope to slot in his position. It's a big position to fill, but I hope to do so in the next couple of years.
QUESTION: Do you have other siblings who play hockey?
BEAU BENNETT: All four of us play hockey. Other than that, my mom and dad rushed us around trying to get us to the rinks on time. They're our biggest fans and biggest supporters, and they sacrificed so much. I'm really thankful for that.
QUESTION: Do you have older, younger?
BEAU BENNETT: One older, a younger brother, and a younger sister. Older brother's going back to the B.C. League, trying to get a scholarship, and my two siblings are good players. So I hope they follow their career path as well.
QUESTION: Talk about the BCHL. You had options to play in the Western League. Why the BCHL, and what did you like about playing there?
BEAU BENNETT: The BCHL had a great city, great coach, great team, and really let me play my style of game. I think you go to where you fit in, and I think Penticton offered everything. It's no dull league. It's a really good league, and I'm glad I chose that route for sure.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the sacrifice?
BEAU BENNETT: It's unbelievable. It really shows the interest in the sport, and it's growing. Definitely a lot more youth hockey is involved in the community and all that. I hope this sparks more interest going forward and there are more prospects coming out of California.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the sacrifice that kids have to go through to play hockey in Los Angeles?
BEAU BENNETT: Huge sacrifice. Mostly for the parents, actually. They're doing all the driving. The rinks are spread out. There's about nine or ten rinks throughout Southern California. We're driving, doing our homework in the car, getting dressed in the cars. You definitely have to sacrifice a little of your social life. But if you're willing to do it if you have a passion for the game. All of us hockey players are willing to do it.
QUESTION: Do you think here in Dallas or back East in Boston?
BEAU BENNETT: Definitely. That's another thing. The ice is definitely more expensive. The expenses alone, it's mind-boggling looking at what my mom and dad paid for me in my midget 18-years. I'm thankful for that. They sacrificed so much, and I'm thankful that they let me pursue my passion.
QUESTION: Can you talk about your decision to go to Denver?
BEAU BENNETT: The decision to go to Denver -- I had a couple options and decided to keep it close to home between CC and DU. And it really encompasses all that I was looking for in Penticton as well. Great team, great guys, great coaching. Big city. I'm really looking forward to taking my next step in my career.
QUESTION: Can you talk about your invitation to the World Junior Camp?
BEAU BENNETT: Definitely excited about that. I think that will be a huge stepping stone going forward. And try to prove myself because I come from not the most well known league, and prove myself against really good Americans coming up.
QUESTION: What went through your head when they called your name?
BEAU BENNETT: Lot of different emotions. Excitement. It was just crazy. Being in L.A. for the draft, being with my friends and family, it's nice to share the whole experience with them.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea where you might go? Did they call you or tell you?
BEAU BENNETT: I was hoping somewhere in the first round. Wherever that may be. And if not, I'm excited. It's an opportunity. It's what you do after the draft. Going forward I want to physically mature and get better in the next couple years at DU.
QUESTION: You were born and raised in Gardena?
BEAU BENNETT: Yes, born and raised in Gardena. I went to high school at Valley Christian High School. It was a great Christian school. I actually moved out to Penticton this year and finished my last year of high school.
QUESTION: What city is Valley Christian in?
BEAU BENNETT: It's in Cerritos.
BEAU BENNETT: Yes, Crusaders.
QUESTION: What are your parents' names?
BEAU BENNETT: Kirk and Louanna.
QUESTION: Do you have a brother who is playing Junior hockey?
BEAU BENNETT: Yeah, he played in the same league as me. He was playing one of our rivals in Trail. It's a four-hour drive. Definitely fun to play him every time. I wish him the best of luck next season. I know he's going to get where he wants to go. He's working in the gym this off-season, and I want him to get that scholarship.