DRAFT DAY EXPERIENCES
Players look back at one of the most important days in their hockey careers
Friday, 04.25.2008 / 12:26 PM ET / News
New York Islanders
Each year in June, hundreds of teenage hockey players anxiously await their fate, hoping their name gets chosen. The NHL Entry Draft decides the future of the most talented hockey players in the world.
Whether a player is selected in the first round or seventh round, there is something special about having a team take a chance on you. Some of the Islanders players recalled how they were feeling on their Draft Day.
Andy Hilbert (Selected by Boston in round 2 (37th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft):
"Obviously it was kind of a nervous experience. You don’t know when or where you’re going to get drafted but it was a huge relief when I finally did get drafted and they called my name. It was a great experience. I had my family around and everyone was there so it was a lot of fun. I went early in the second round so I didn’t have to wait too long. It’s a long day. The first round takes a long time, but it was a good experience for me."
Josef Vasicek (Selected by Carolina in round 4 (91st overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft):
"Back in 1998 my draft year was in Buffalo. Me and my parents went over to Buffalo for the draft. It was a good experience because I saw how it works. I was waiting for my name to be called, but it was fun. I was only 18 years old. Two years before, I had been playing back home in the Czech Republic on an outdoor rink, so I didn’t really know what to expect from that. When I was called, I got my jersey. I also spoke to the GM and a lot of the guys, I couldn’t really speak much English then but I still was able to say something. So it was a good experience overall and something I won’t forget."
Sean Bergenheim (Selected by the Islanders in round 1 (22nd overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft:
"It was in Toronto and it was a great day. I kind of got the indication that I was going in the first round but I had no idea who was going to take me. Actually the Islanders were a little bit of a surprise to me because you have those meetings with the different teams and some teams you get better feelings from and I didn’t really know what the Islanders thought of me as a player. Then when they drafted me, I was so happy and a New York team was such a big thing. I remember Yashin was there and Charles was there, and when you work so hard at something for so long it’s such an amazing step to reach your goal of playing in the NHL."
Jon Sim (Selected by Dallas in round 3 (70th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft:
"It was a long time ago now; 12 years ago. I still remember my name being called. I was 70th overall to Dallas, it was quite an honor. It was at St. Louis. I was rated 70th and I went 70th. I went right on the button so it was kind of neat.
Aaron Johnson (Selected by Columbus in round 3 (85th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft:
"It was awesome. I was fortunate enough to be in Florida, so it was nice weather. I was drafted in the third round. It was pretty much a blur at the time because it happened so fast. It was a fun day. Sometimes it can be overrated because there are a lot of expectations on those days, but it was a good time for me and my family, It was nice for the other hockey players to just meet up and enjoy the day. We came all the way from Nova Scotia, but it was still a little colder than I expected in Florida."
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- NYI DRAFT CENTRAL: Colin Wilson