ST. PAUL -- When the Wild selected Marshall Warren with its sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft last month, it cemented an ongoing teammate relationship that Minnesota hopes will continue long into the future. Following the selection of Matt Boldy with its first-round pick the night before, the Wild picked Warren -- Boldy's best friend and long-time teammate -- on day two of the draft.
For a duo that has known each other for more than half of their lives, the weekend in Vancouver ensured that their paths will remain intertwined indefinitely.
"I think for me, personally, it's good having a buddy for this experience," Warren said. "I think he's just such a good kid ... for him, getting drafted in the first round, I'm so proud of him. I'm just happy I get to be on this journey with him."
Boldy and Warren have been teammates for almost their entire hockey-playing lives.
It began when they were eight, and Warren's mom, Lisa, suggested he play summer hockey in the Boston area. So Warren, a Laurel Hollow, New York native, went northeast for part of the summer, where he played on the Jr. Bruins with Boldy, a Millis, Massachusetts native.
They've been together basically ever since.
"We kept talking and stuck together," Warren said.
"We played a lot of summer tournaments together," Boldy said.
Video: Get to Know Matt Boldy
Boldy would eventually play on the Long Island Stars, where he and Warren played in a bantam tournament together in Quebec. They would play together in several other tournaments before entering the U.S. National Team Development Program at the same time in 2017. They attended high school together in Plymouth, Michigan.
Boldy and Warren are so close, even their parents have become friends.
They each spent two years with the USNTDP before committing -- separately -- to the same university: Boston College. They will begin their collegiate careers under legendary head coach Jerry York this fall.
"I committed first," Boldy said. "Marshall was committed somewhere else (Harvard), decommitted and then ended up coming to B.C., which was pretty cool to get him. Not a bad pick up."
When trying to get Warren to head to the Eagles, it certainly helped having a familiar face already in the future mix. Boldy might have had some things to say to his buddy.
"Maybe just a couple," Boldy said. "But I think it's the best fit for him. I'm definitely excited to have him on the team, though."
Before the draft, it appeared the stop at B.C. might be their last chance to play on the same team. With 31 teams in the NHL, what were the odds they'd each be selected by the same franchise.
For these two? Pretty good, apparently. They can't seem to shake each other, not that either of them wants to.
By the time the Wild selected Warren with the 166th overall selection, Boldy had been a member of the organization for about 12 hours.
"Having a friend get drafted to the same organization as you is pretty cool," Boldy said. "We were all happy to see each other get drafted ... but seeing him go to the same place? I can't get away from him."
Boldy was one of eight players from the USNTDP to be drafted in the first round of the NHL Draft, including seven in the top 15.
In all, 17 players from last year's NTDP were picked in the draft, setting a new record for the program.
Both Boldy and Warren raved about their experience, saying they are more prepared to begin their college careers and feel they are closer to success at the pro ranks because of their time with the NTDP.
While Boldy was the 12th player picked at the draft, he had to earn everything he got while playing for the national team. He was never handed top-line minutes or a spot on the team's power play.
It's an experience Boldy wouldn't trade for anything.
Video: Get to Know Marshall Warren
"You don't even realize until it's over how good those guys are and how lucky you had it playing there," Boldy said. "It's pretty easy when you're playing with seven first-rounders ... Getting away from them, it's going to be hard. Spending two years with them, every day, all day. We were brothers.
"But I don't think I'd say any of us were every in each other's shadows. I think we all made each other better in a way."
Warren, viewed by some as a potential first-round pick as recently as last Christmas, was expected by many to go much higher than he did. And while he has work to do in order to prove his doubters wrong, he said he's thankful the Wild took a chance -- and for the opportunity to do just that.
"The pick doesn't matter any more, what number I was," Warren said. "I'm so happy to be in Minnesota and I can't wait to prove to everyone else that they missed out on something good."
That starts this fall when Boldy and Warren set foot on the campus of Boston College and will continue well into the coming years.
Nobody knows what's ahead, but both Boldy and Warren know they'll attack it together.
"He's one of my best friends," Boldy said, "and I'm really looking forward to the future with him."
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