Kailer Yamamoto, No. 17 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, plays for Spokane of the Western Hockey League. Yamamoto (5-foot-7, 153 pounds) finished sixth in the WHL with 99 points (42 goals, 57 assists) in 65 regular-season games in his third season with the Chiefs. The right-handed shot has offered to maintain a monthly draft diary for NHL.com leading up to the 2017 draft in Chicago June 23-24. His June post comes upon completion of the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo.
Hello hockey fans!
Well, I did it. I completed the NHL Combine.
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The whole event surpassed my expectations. Just being able to come here and be around a lot of players from the Western Hockey League, guys from international events and just having them all here and not having to compete against them. It was cool to just be their friend for a week.
I think for me the hardest part was just coming in for the interviews. I was really psyching myself out before I came here, getting a little nervous, but after the first couple of interviews I started to settle in. I was a little nervous and anxious before every interview but it got a lot easier as the week went on.
The weirdest question I was asked was at the end of the week. Near the end of the interview, I was asked if I had ever been arrested. I was really thrown off and I kind of hesitated and said 'What?' I finally said no, but the scout asking the question looked at me and said, 'But you hesitated.'
I told him that I was really thrown off by the question. I wasn't expecting that at all. They told me that they would be able to find out all the background stuff on me. That's OK though because I know I haven't been arrested.
As the testing got closer I started getting nervous. I think the interviews and the bike tests were the tough part. The easy part was just becoming friends with all the guys. Everyone here was tremendous and they all have great personalities and are great hockey players.
The Wingate bike test is a lot shorter than the VO2max, but boy does it make you feel a whole lot worse in the end.
Now that the combine is over I'll go home (to Spokane, Washington) and spend some time with my family and friends. We'll go back and take the first couple days off and then back to training. Hopefully I'll get drafted and then go straight to development camp so I have to stay in shape for that.
My time at the draft and being with my family is something I will certainly cherish. This process only happens once and I'm really looking forward to it.
Thanks for reading. My last diary will come from United Center at the NHL Draft.
Video: An inside look at the 2017 NHL Combine