Who Says You Can't Go Home?
Old homes, new homes, old friends and new rivals at NHL Draft
- 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
June 23, 2007
By Elliot Olshansky
Of course, the Tigers' rising sophomore had an advantage: you could say he'd been preparing for this moment from the day he was born.
The native of
"I'm a big time Cubs fan," the speedy winger said. "They're doing a little bit better than they usually do this year, but not as well as they should be spending $300 million."
"There's an unfinished basement in one of the houses we were looking at," Sweatt said of his family's move to Elburn, "so me and my brother [former CC teammate Lee Sweatt] could play roller hockey, and practice even more. I think it definitely helps us on the ice with our hockey skills."
Between playing with USA Hockey InLine, the National Team Development Program, and the Junior National Team at the 2007 World Junior Championship, in addition to his exploits with the Tigers, Sweatt certainly hasn't seen any shortage of competition, and now he's looking forward to one day bringing that competitive spirit to the
"It's really fitting that I go to the hometown team I've been rooting for my whole life," Sweatt said. "I'm really excited about it. I've been a
In trading for the pick that will bring Sweatt to Chicago, the Blackhawks made it possible to send another prospect to a home team, of sorts.
Tommy Cross grew up in
"My parents grew up just on the Canadian border," Cross said, "and my dad grew up watching the Memorial Cup. He ended up playing college hockey [at
And after the Boston Bruins traded the 38th and 69th picks to the Blackhawks for the 35th selection, the Hub still has a hold on the 6'3" defenseman's hockey future. When he's ready for the pros, Cross will don the black and gold of the Bruins, but before that, he'll wear the maroon and gold of Boston College, where he'll arrive for his freshman year in the fall of 2008, a simple ride on the T from the Bruins' home at TD Banknorth Garden.
"It makes it better," Cross said of being selected by the Bruins. "Being able to go to Bruins games and being in
Further down Commonwealth Avenue, two players hoping to supply some pressure of their own to Cross and anyone else who suits up for BC will be solidifying a hockey partnership that will take them a very long way, literally.
"We're rooming together, we'll be playing together and we've been friends since we were 10," Cohen said, after being selected with the 45th pick. "We head [to BU] on July 1 and we're going to be living together this summer."
As enthusiastic as Cohen is about playing for Jack Parker and going to school in
The Montreal Canadiens will also be getting a pair of well-acquainted defensemen in the next couple of years, and that's exactly what executive vice president and general manager Bob Gainey is counting on.
"With our first ," Gainey said of 12th overall selection Ryan McDonagh, "I think we could look ahead and match him with our first-round pick last year, David Fischer, and say, in two or three years, we may just add two solid defensemen into our system that could be players for the Canadiens for a while."
After being drafted Friday night, McDonagh spoke similarly about Fischer, saying, "Last year, they selected David Fischer, whom I'm pretty good friends with. I've played with him before in other leagues."
Just one catch: McDonagh, this year's "Mr. Hockey" in the state of
"It's going to be fun to battle against him next year," McDonagh said, "when he's in a Minnesota uniform and I'm in a Wisconsin uniform, but we understand it's a business and we're both going to try to win for our team."
And that's the thing. Whether players like Sweatt, Cross, Shattenkirk, Cohen, and McDonagh are teammates or rivals, returning to old homes or headed to new ones, college hockey lies ahead, and that's something that they share.