Talk about a life-changing experience.
While nervously sitting with his family at the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Kevin Shattenkirk finally got to hear the words that he’s been dreaming about.
Shattenkirk, 18, who was born in Greenwich and played on the Brunswick ice hockey team, was drafted 14th overall by the Colorado Avalanche.
During the draft, which was held on June 22, Shattenkirk, who is a cool customer on the ice, was a little tense.
“I was a little nervous, but the thing with the draft is that you can’t control what happens,” he told the Post. “I was very excited to be there and I was kind of getting anxious waiting for my name to be called.”
However, that all changed once he heard his name and realized he would be playing hockey for the Avs.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Shattenkirk said. “Hearing my name called made me tremendously happy — and my family was as well. Going to Colorado is great and it didn’t really sink in until later on.”
Shattenkirk, who played defense for Brunswick during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, said he classifies himself an offensive defenseman who shoots right.
“We are pleased to have been able to select Kevin as our first-round pick,” said Craig Billington, Colorado Avalanche director of player development. “We believe he is a very talented young man with a bright future ahead of him. Our best efforts will be put forward to make sure his development leads him to be a good professional hockey player.”
“I add a component to the team and add another defenseman to join the rush up ice,” Shattenkirk said. “I am also a power play defenseman, and that’s key as well.”
Playing hockey on a big stage is nothing new to Shattenkirk. He was a captain of the United States National Under-18 team during the 2006-07 season and scored 12 goals and 22 assists in 48 games. In addition, he represented the United States and helped the team take second place in the 2007 Under-18 World Championships in Finland.
A year earlier, he was a member of the United States National Under-17 team, scoring 13 goals and 20 assists in 53 games.
For Shattenkirk, there really wasn’t a tryout period prior to the NHL draft. The only times he was able to showcase his talents were during his high school career at Brunswick and while playing for Team USA.
“A lot of scouts come to different games and watch the kids play,” Shattenkirk said. “They were all over, especially during the International tournaments this year.”
From that, Shattenkirk was one of only 100 athletes invited to the National Hockey League Combine, which was held in Toronto at the Park Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel.
At the hotel, scouts interviewed Shattenkirk and also evaluated his physical ability.
While excited about playing out west, Shattenkirk will be spending his next few years back on the East Coast, as this winter season will be his first with Boston University, a storied hockey program that has produced talent such as New York Islanders Rick DiPietro and Tom Poti, Atlanta Thrasher Keith Tkachuk, Calgary Flame Tony Amonte and Trumbull native Chris Drury, a Buffalo Sabre.
“Boston University is going to be great,” Shattenkirk said. “We have a great recruiting class coming in and lot of returners from last year’s team, so I think over the next few years we’re going to be a contender for the national championship. It’s going to be a fun spot to play hockey.”