From Harvard to the NHL: A Primer


For most college hockey players, the draft process officially begins during their rookie season. Occasionally, high school athletes, as in the cases of Kolarik and Fried, may impress an organization enough to be drafted before freshman year, provided they are already 19 years old.

Prospective draftees receive multiple questionnaires from various NHL teams throughout the season, but have very little, if any, personal contact with interested parties. Bala and Steve Moore were two of the exceptions. After dazzling the ECAC with their offensive one-two punch, they sparked more than a passing interest.


"Steve and I both had interviews with the San Jose Sharks during freshman year," Bala said. "But in general, it really doesn't happen all that often."

Other than the questionnaires, players have very little information to go on regarding their draft potential. The only aspect they can control is their performance, which has a direct impact on draft selection. Subsequent rankings and ratings are published that give informative, but not definite, indications of how the draft will turn out.

As the process moves along, teams that show more than a little interest in a player will set up interviews throughout the spring. Like the questionnaires, interviews hardly guarantee selection, but they do suggest possibilities.

"You think you might know who is going to draft you, but in most cases, you're wrong," Dominic Moore said.

At the draft, which is held in a different location each year, players spend most of their waking moments hustling to interviews designed to give NHL organizations one final look at the options.

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