Forward Brady Tkachuk (6-foot-3, 196 pounds), a top prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft, had 54 points (25 goals, 29 assists) in 61 games for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program last season, and also helped the United States win the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He's the son of United States Hockey Hall of Fame member Keith Tkachuk and the younger brother of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. Brady has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com, leading up to the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. In his first entry, he talks about the start to his freshman year at Boston University and his experience at the 2017 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
I've been on campus at Boston University for about three weeks, and so far I'm just getting used to the school schedule; balancing going to class, going to the rink, going back to the dorm to relax, getting food. So far my most interesting class has been Introduction to Communications.
Getting to know my new teammates has been good. All the older guys have been great to us freshmen coming in, making us more comfortable every day. We've had great practices and it's been really exciting.
There's an NCAA rule that says we can only do three on-ice sessions a week, 40 minutes each, before our first game. That's tough but we have a lot of free time out there to work on our mitts and shoot some pucks. We always have a little group that goes out there for extra ice, so that's been good. Also, we're in the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I already feel a lot stronger.
I got to Buffalo for the All-American Prospects Game on Wednesday afternoon and got to hang out with Quintin Hughes in our hotel room for a couple hours until our meeting. We caught up on "Game of Thrones." It's always great to see him. We became really close playing the past two seasons with the National Team Development Program.
We had meetings Wednesday and Thursday with our team and our coach, Brian Leetch. It was awesome to find out I was on his team. My dad told me before this, "Do you know who your coach is? He's one of the best defensemen of all time." It's been awesome to be around him and learn from him. My dad is very good buddies with Chris Chelios, who coached the other team. I see him a couple times a year. It's always great to see those two legends of the game.
On Thursday we had breakfast and then walked to the rink, had practice and media, then a CCM showing, got to look at their equipment. Had lunch, then Quinn and I had a nap for a little bit. We woke up, got some more food and eventually walked over and started preparing for the game.
Leetch didn't say much to us as far as coaching. The biggest thing was play with pace, compete and just show how you can play and display your skills because it's a showcase.
Video: Brady Tkachuk talks about the summer showcase, more
I had an assist in the second period and then scored the game-winning goal in the third. There was a loose puck in the neutral zone and I skated into it and made a pass to one of the Krygier twins -- I can't tell those guys apart. He gave it back and luckily it went in. I wasn't picking a spot, just trying to hit the net.
Next for me is getting back to school and getting ready for the start of our season. Our first game is against Union on Sept. 30 at home, then we play the University of Prince Edward Island the next day. It'll be a great weekend. I'm really excited for it.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Talk to you next month.