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Hanifin: Batting practice was unique experience

by Noah Hanifin / NHL.com

Noah Hanifin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, completed his freshman season at Boston College in Hockey East in 2014-15. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound left-shot defenseman had five goals and 23 points in 37 games. He also represented the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. He had eight goals and 33 points in 45 games for the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team in 2013-14. The native of Norwood, Mass., has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. His latest entry comes from Marlins Park in Miami.

Greetings from Marlins Park.

We just got done batting practice here. It was the first time I've swung a bat since the summer going into my freshman year of high school. So the first two balls, I hit grounders. Then I hit a ground-rule double, right off the wall. I almost got one out; I think if I had pulled it a little more to the right it would have been out.

Lawson Crouse was the only one to hit a home run. He went first and he set the bar really high for us. But he's just a really big, strong guy. We kind of expected if one guy was going to put one out, it would be him.

It's been fun since I got to Florida on Tuesday. We got here in the morning and went to the beach, then me and my family had dinner at Lulu's Bait Shack, a seafood place on the beach. I have about 40 family members and friends coming in, and some friends from St. Sebastian's School, where I went to high school, are coming in Friday.

This morning, Jack Eichel and I went to the beach for a little bit, and then we came over here to the stadium. We got a tour, and then we took batting practice.

It's the second major-league ballpark I've ever been to. I've been to Fenway Park, but here it's a lot different. Fenway is real old-school, and this is a little more new-school. The grass, the dirt, everything's perfect here. It's really cool.

We also got to meet some of the players. Giancarlo Stanton, he's unbelievable. He's got 26 home runs this year.

Just going around the locker room, there's a lot of similarities to what we do as hockey players, but a lot of differences too. The way they prepare for the games, they're creatures of habits. They have a routine every day, and that was pretty cool to see because it's pretty similar to what we do. We're all athletes here, we all have similar mindsets. It was pretty cool to see.

The biggest thing I learned is that regardless of the sport, it's how big preparation is. They play so many games, way more than an NHL team does. Every single game they do the same thing beforehand and getting ready. Just shows how important being prepared and focused is.

We have a clinic with local kids tomorrow, and then we're taking a tour of the Everglades. I also have two meetings with NHL teams.

The butterflies are starting to set in some. You hear so many rumors about what's going to happen, what teams might do. You get a little nervous, but it's a good nervous. It's really exciting. You only go through this once in your life. I'm sure it'll be a lot worse Friday.

That's it from here. I'm ready to watch the game.

Follow Noah Hanifin on Twitter: @nhanifin

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