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After one season on the ice with the Harvard men's hockey team, right-winger Kyle B. Clark '02 has been drafted by the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Clark, the only Crimson player to be selected during last Saturday's NHL draft in Boston, was a sixth-round pick and was selected 175th overall.
"I was pretty psyched," said Clark who attended the draft at the FleetCenter and donned a Washington Capitals jersey when he was selected.
"I kind of knew [the Washington Capitals] were going to draft me because I had a good interview with them two weeks beforehand," he added.
The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau pre-draft report ranked Clark 100th among North American players eligible for this year's draft.
Clark, who is from Essex, Vt., played 15 games with the Crimson last season and tallied just 2 assists. He rated his overall performance as "very poor" due to a shoulder injury early in the season.
"The injury didn't help me out," Clark said. "But I also didn't have the confidence or skills to play at that [collegiate] level right away."
But although Clark has struggled offensively, his size--the six foot, six inch, 215-pound forward is the biggest member of the team--allows him to punish opponents.
"Certainly [Clark's] size had something to do with [his draft]," said Assistant Coach Jerry Pawloski '88. "But he's also a very good athlete and has a real work ethic."
Although Clark has been drafted, it is unclear whether he will ever play in the NHL. Teams usually wait to see how collegiate players develop before deciding whether to sign them.
"They know that if you really want to play hockey, you'd play juniors instead of going to college," Clark said.
"By going to college it shows you might have alternative intentions. And when it comes to paying you, they have to pay more because they know you can do something else."
This year, only three of the top twenty draft picks were collegians. The rest were mainly European or Canadian players in junior leagues.
But Clark, who has been playing the sport since he was five, would like to play professionally--in the minors or in the NHL--for at least a few years after graduation.
"A lot depends on how I do next year," he said.
"Clark's a great athlete, but he's still a young kid," said Pawloski. "He's still growing into his big frame."
Clark is a product of the United States National Development Program and was heavily recruited by Harvard last year.
Besides Clark, five current Crimson players have been drafted by an NHL franchise. Among these are forwards Steven F. Moore '01 and Christopher B. Bala '01, both of whom were selected in last year's NHL draft.
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