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NHL Draft

Fox first through fitness testing at Scouting Combine

Defenseman says it was 'good to get it out of the way early'

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

BUFFALO -- Adam Fox, a defenseman with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team, said he didn't mind being the first player to go through the fitness testing Saturday at the 2016 NHL Scouting Combine. 

"It was pretty good to get it out of the way early," Fox said. "You're not thinking about it too long. You just go in there and get it done. It's something I prepared for. It's good to get it out of the way early."

The stands at HarborCenter were filled with NHL scouts and general managers, but Fox said he didn't mind the audience as he went through tests like the standing broad jump, bench press, pull-up and Wingate cycle ergometer test, which measures a player's explosiveness. 

"Was definitely some butterflies in your stomach, but it's something you enjoy, the whole process of it," he said.  

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That included the interviews he went through earlier in the week. Fox said he talked with 23 teams but didn't get any of the occasionally odd questions teams will test prospects with.

"Not many weird ones," Fox said. "They were pretty normal. I know some guys get some whacky ones like spirit animal or favorite animal. But I didn't get any weird ones. ... Every team has a different agenda, a different view on you. It was the same general question, describe yourself as a player, get a little background on you to understand you as a person."

Fox, No. 50 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, had 59 points in 64 games with the NTDP U-18 team. He also had nine points in eight games for the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and was named the tournament's best defenseman. 

"I'm an offensive defenseman, skilled player, good hockey IQ," Fox said. "I'm a defenseman so I try to focus on that, too. There are things I'm still working on but that's how I'd describe my game."

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At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds Fox said a goal moving forward is to get stronger, and he'll start that process in the fall at Harvard University. Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League owns his Canadian Hockey League rights, but he said there are more advantages for him in college hockey. 

"You put a lot of time in the weight room, which will be big for me," Fox said. "And Harvard, great education and the coaching staff, with coach [Ted] Donato, they're building a great program. The expectation there is a national championship. They haven't done it in a while. I'm going in there with high goals and high expectations." 

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