American Dreams Realized In Columbus
US Development Program and college hockey track score big early
- History Analysis: Stats Table | Overview | Drafting College Players | Early Signings
- Olshansky: Feeling The Draft From Miles Away
- Starman: College Well Represented in Draft
- Player Profiles: Dion Knelsen, Alaska | Ben Smith, Boston College | Billy Sweatt, Colorado College
- Player Capsules: Incoming Forwards | Incoming Defensemen/Goaltenders | Current Collegians
- Recruit Profiles: BC's Petrecki & BU's Cohen | UNH's van Riemsdyk & Wisconsin's Turris
- Draft Day: American Dreams Realized | Getting Schooled | Who Says You Can't Go Home? | A Golden Day
By Elliot Olshansky
Together, they're the top three picks in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and that makes for a pretty nice day for hockey in the
"It's certainly exciting for USA Hockey," said NTDP Under-18 head coach Ron Rolston about seeing the two Americans, Kane and vanRiemsdyk, go with the top two picks to the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively, a first for the U.S. "This is an exciting day for us. We're still growing in hockey, but we feel we're producing better players. These are two young men that went one and two that took advantage of the resources at the program, and they took responsibility to develop themselves."
Add in Phoenix Coyotes draftee Turris, a
"I think the depth of players in the U.S. is getting better," Rolston said, "and it certainly helps to have the National Team Development Program to get the kids together, and put them in an environment to develop over the course of two years, because it's a place where they can play a demanding schedule, work on themselves as a person off the ice and develop physically."
"If it wasn't for that, I'd probably be playing
A total of five NTDP products - Kane, vanRiemsdyk, Boston University recruit Kevin Shattenkirk, Notre Dame recruit Ian Cole and Minnesota sophomore-to-be James O'Brien - were taken in the first round on Friday night at Nationwide Arena, half of the 10 Americans drafted among the first 30 players. In addition, 11 players drafted on Friday will play college hockey in 2007-08, as Canadians like Turris, Cornell recruit Riley Nash (
That's a pretty nice haul for the
"It just shows the job that we're doing at all levels in the
Turris was fast to agree, but equally quick to pay the proper respect to his homeland.
"They have great hockey and they're really on the rise," Turris said of the
Indeed, fans of Canadian major junior hockey will be quick to point out that Kane made his run up the draft rankings this year playing for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, the traditional road for Canadiens, and the road favored by half of Friday's first-round picks, but a less traveled road for NTDP players. Still, while Kane chose the major junior route after fielding scholarship offers from the likes of BU and
"I think, certainly, we're proud that he came through the program," Rolston said. "He did a lot for USA Hockey so far, and I think in the future, he's going to do a lot for USA Hockey and the Chicago Blackhawks. But you know, every place up the line has had a role in his development. You can go back to the Buffalo Saints and all the way through. Every place has really had a hand in where he is today.
Meanwhile, both Turris and vanRiemsdyk are looking forward to continuing their development in the college ranks this season.
"Mike Eaves, Mark Osiecki and Kevin Patrick are great coaches," Turris said of the Badgers staff. "They have a very professional atmosphere and they make sure they get the best out of you. I think they're really going to prepare me well."
"I really love the campus there," vanRiemsdyk said of
Of course, down the road, there will be expectations to fulfill in the NHL as well, as there will for all of Friday's first-round picks. For now, though, it's a day of pride, for the draftees and the teams that helped them get there.