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Draft picks have Hockeytown connections

by Lindsey Ungar / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT — Kelowna Rocket defenseman Luke Schenn didn’t grow up a Red Wings’ fan.

Luke Shenn

But at the NHL Entry Draft Luncheon held at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit on Monday, the big projection screens showed a vintage photo of Schenn donning a wing-wheeled jersey.

And the 18-year-old Schenn — ranked fifth by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau — sounded a bit embarrassed when it was pointed out.

“I was a little chubby kid,” Schenn said of himself in the old photo. “That was probably back in novice or something like that. …

“I was a pretty big kid back then.”

But then who chose the photo?

“Probably my mum,” Schenn said. “She probably thinks that’s a good picture, so I’ll let her be.”

It wasn’t exactly a true Detroit Red Wings’ jersey — Schenn actually played for the Saskatoon Redwings at the time.

While none of six top-rated players at the luncheon have a chance of being drafted by the Wings, who either have the No. 29 or No. 30 pick, there are a couple other Hockeytown connections.

Steve Stamkos
Steve Stamkos is projected to go first overall at the draft in Ottawa from June 20-21. Last season, he played for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontarion Hockey League. The Sting are owned by former Red Wings forward Dino Ciccarelli and his brothers.

Ciccarelli was a four-time NHL all-star, recording 1,200 points in his 19-season career. He played four seasons with Detroit from 1992-96.

“Just to learn from him is great,” Stamkos said. “Obviously, he’s a busy man and he came out to as many games as he could in Sarnia, and it was definitely something that made me a better player.”

You can’t get much better than Stamkos, who has 197 points in 124 games played with the Sting.

Ciccarelli took notice, too.

“He just said I was a special player and just to keep up the hard work and they had the confidence that I’d be able to make it to the NHL one day,” Stamkos said of Ciccarelli’s words of encouragement. “I really took that to heart and hopefully I can make that come true.”

Defenseman Zach Bogosian was the only non-Canadian prospect at the luncheon.

Begosion played for the Peterborough Petes, the OHL franchise that was also training ground for Steve Yzerman. Begosion hopes to be the second coming of a different Red Wings player and fellow American — Chris Chelios.

“When he was younger, he obviously put up points and had a mean streak, too,” Begosion said of Chelios. “That’s what I kind of model myself after is him. And he’s a great player. He’s obviously doing something right to stick around when he’s 46 years old or something like that. It’s been great watching him.”

The Massena, NY native got to meet Chelios at the morning skate prior to Game 2 in Detroit.

“It was kind of brief,” said Begosian of the encounter with his childhood idol. “He’s awesome just to meet, somebody you grow up watching.”

There’s a good chance years from now kids will be saying the same thing about Schenn, Stamkos and Begosian.
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