ST. LOUIS -- Kirby Dach's NHL days are ahead of him but he has already figured out one important element of the game.
The 18-year-old from St. Albert, Alberta, is a center for Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League and No. 3 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver June 21-22.
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During the WHL season, Dach (6-foot-4, 197 pounds) joined the Gordie Howe Foundation and started the First Blades program to gift a pair of skates to kids whose families might not have the means to purchase them.
"[The idea] came from myself and my parents," Dach said before attending Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
"They always told me that you're going to have to give back and I wanted to kind of show that I'm a caring person, that side of my personality. With hockey players, you kind of see the straight-and-narrow and the focused side of them. I wanted to do something out in the community, be out and about."
Video: Kirby Dach on the NHL Combine, Draft
This season, Dach, who had 73 points (25 goals, 48 assists) in 62 games, learned how Hockey Hall of Fame member Howe grew up in a poor Saskatchewan family during the Great Depression and obtained his first pair of skates when he was 5. The skates were in a bag of belongings a neighbor had sold to Howe's mother for cash.
"I was kind of taken by that," Dach said. "So I wanted to do something this year to give back to the community in Saskatoon. I thought of kind of going out and finding underprivileged children ... got them their first pair of skates and took them out for the whole day and got them fitted with helmets and all that stuff and brought them out on the ice to skate with them, then brought some of them to the (Blades) games and met with them afterward.
"It was pretty cool to see that side of the world. Growing up, I didn't have to worry about any of that stuff. It's kind of cool to put a smile on a kid's face and create a memory that they won't forget. That was special."
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