<< Complete 2005 NHL Entry Draft Coverage
It was a little over a year ago, on June 26, 2004 in Raleigh North Carolina, when the New York Rangers used their number six pick in the first round to select Al Montoya. However, the young goaltender remembers the day as if it was yesterday.
In anticipation of the upcoming 2005 NHL Entry Draft, to be held Saturday, July 30 (noon, ET) at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, newyorkrangers.com sat down with Montoya to learn what he remembers most about his experiences at the draft.
Hearing my name called over the loud speaker was probably the most memorable part of the day. The best thing about it was waiting in the stands, going right up on the stage after getting my name called and getting the jersey pulled over my head. I remember that I could not really look out in the stands because all I could see was cameras flashing.
To tell you the truth, I couldn't even tell you how I felt. The moment did not really set in until I woke up the next morning and I realized that I was drafted and I knew what had happened and where I was going. But the moment when you're drafted, it's a different feeling. Obviously I've never experienced the feeling before and it is really indescribable. Oh, I remember that I was nervous, I was excited, and I was happy. It was all of the above - everything you could possibly feel.
It was even better because I was with my family. I had a couple of other people there as well, including my billet family from when I was in Texas. It was an unbelievable thing to hear my name called and then enjoy it with the people who had gotten me to this place.
At first, going back to school in the summer was different. I had to get used to doing special things and talking to different people. The years prior to the draft, I was focused on getting ready and preparing for the draft and I didn't know where I was going, but I was hoping to go somewhere high. After I was drafted, it was like, "all right, now I'm preparing to move on with the Rangers". When you go to a school like Michigan, a lot is expected from you because the school gives you a lot. I always liked being the goalie for the team, partially because there was always a lot expected from me.
I think this past year was different for me and the other draft picks than it was for the veteran players. The veterans, those who have actually played in the NHL, have been there already and gotten a shot. For us, it was, "we want a shot at this, but because of the situation we're not able to move on and go in the direction that we want to be going." So, I felt like we were all in a different situation than the other players because we had just been drafted and we wanted to move on to the next step, but we were not really able to.
I'm definitely excited for this upcoming season and the new rules. The big thing that I've been hearing most from people is talk about the new pads. I think its going to bring more athleticism out of the goaltenders and its gong to weed out the ones that are not able to hack it. And I think its good for the game. I am also excited about the NHL taking away the red line because I like to play the puck which is an exciting part of the game.