Imagine that you’re 18 years old and you’re looking forward to graduating high school.
For months you’ve circled the date in preparation of celebrating years of hard work and the beginning of the next stage of your life.
Then the day comes, you and your family dress up in your finest clothes and you enter the auditorium and wait to receive your diploma. Then after sitting through the ceremony and watching your classmates graduate, you’re told: ‘No diploma for you today, maybe tomorrow.’
What would your emotions be? Sadness? Anger? Disillusionment?
For defenseman Jeremy Roy, the answer was all of the above when he entered BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida for the 2015 NHL Draft expecting to get selected in the first round, only to be passed over during the first 30 picks. This meant that after months of circling Friday, June 26, 2015 on the calendar as the day his hockey dreams would come true, he had to gather his family and return to his hotel for a sleepless night, where he’d toss and turn until the wee hours of the morning wondering what would happen next.
“It was a hard night,” said Roy, whose last name is pronounced the same way as Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy. “Going in, I was confident in hoping I could get drafted in the first round. It was a bit disappointing. Going back to the hotel with my family and my girlfriend, everybody was trying to help me. They just told me to stay positive and that they still believed in me.
“Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long on the second day.”
The Sharks made the Longueuil, Quebec native’s long extra night’s wait well worth it the following morning, when they selected Roy with the first pick of the draft’s second day in the second round, 31st overall. In return, San Jose receives not only a very talented hockey player, but a very motivated one.
“I’m taking the whole thing as motivation,” Roy said. “I want to show everybody that I’m worth more than a second-round pick.”
The first chance for Roy in proving his worth came this past week, when he suited up for Canada at the national team’s World Junior showcase in Calgary, which is the beginning of the tryout process for the 2016 World Junior Championships. Skating on a Canadian team that trounced Russia and the Czech Republic in three of its four games, Roy felt comfortable and looked as if he belonged.
“It’s always a great experience to represent your country,” Roy said. “Playing with the best players in Canada against some of the best players in the world, it’s great. It’s about learning all the little things that I can work on to make the team.”
One person who thinks Roy has an excellent chance of making the team is Dylan Sadowy, the Sharks’ third-round pick in 2014 who was also in Canada’s camp and is a candidate to make its World Junior team.
“I just met him this year at San Jose development camp,” Sadowy said of Roy. “He’s just a solid, puck-moving defenseman that moves the puck real well. He did real well at camp, too.”
Moving forward, Roy says he’s going to try to build off his performance in Canada’s camp to continue to show the hockey world that he belongs in the same breath as the sport’s top prospects. He’ll be using the lingering feeling of what being passed over on the first night of the draft felt like as extra incentive to make sure he succeeds.
“At the end of the day, I’m in the same spot now as I would be if I was taken earlier,” Roy said. “Except now, I feel like I have something more to prove.”