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Boqvist's dream on track with Blackhawks

Defenseman prospect hopes first NHL contract leads to big future in Chicago

by Chris Kuc / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Adam Boqvist and his older brother, Jesper, had special privileges at their local hockey rink as kids growing up in Falum, Sweden. 

As soon as they were old enough to ride their bikes there, they were given a key to the building to come and go as they pleased, because they spent so much time there. 

"Right after school we'd go there from 3 o'clock and then go home at 9," said Adam Boqvist, a 17-year-old defenseman selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. "We had to bring dinner with us. There were a lot of hours there."

Those hours have paid off for the brothers; One year before Adam was drafted, Jesper, a 19-year-old center, was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (No. 36) of the 2017 NHL Draft. 

"I talked to Chicago before the draft about 10 times and I had a good feeling with them," Adam Boqvist said Monday during the first day of Blackhawks development camp. "It was a dream come true. I'm very proud."

He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Chicago on July 1.

"My dream was to sign my first NHL contract so it was another dream come true," Boqvist said. "Hockey is the best thing I know. I want to win the Stanley Cup."

Before that can happen, he will leave his team in Sweden and play with London of the Ontario Hockey League this season. 

Video: Blackhawks draft D Adam Boqvist No. 8

"We want to make sure that he has a really good development year," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said, "because this is sort of a critical season for someone like him who's got so much ability and so much talent."

A fluid skater with high-end offensive upside, Boqvist draws inspiration from watching another Sweden-born defenseman with a similar style, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. 

"I like to play offensive and have the puck and make a good play," said Boqvist, who had 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games with Brynas in Sweden's junior league last season. "I don't try to play like Erik Karlsson but he, too, is an offensive defenseman who likes to have the puck."

Boqvist is eager to experience life in North America on and off the ice.

"Now I can play on the smaller ice and read the play better and hopefully be ready for the NHL quickly," he said. "I'm looking forward to learning a new language and taking the bus trips and playing in many games."

To continue his dream to reach the NHL, Boqvist (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) knows he needs to further develop his body and his game.

"I need to get bigger and stronger and get used to the smaller ice and hopefully I can be ready for the NHL one day," he said.

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