From Harvard to the NHL: A Primer

"Steve and I were pretty confident heading up to Buffalo. We figured something was going to happen for us," Bala said. "But going to the draft is a big risk because there's no guarantee. You could sit there for nine rounds and not hear your name called, which is pretty difficult."

Fortunately, neither Moore nor Bala had to wait very long--both were picked in almost rapid succession of each other in the second round of the 1998 draft. The Colorado Avalanche chose Moore, while the Ottawa Senators nabbed Bala shortly thereafter.


Clark, Harvard's lone draft pick in 1999, was picked up by the Washington Capitals in the sixth round.

The 2000 NHL draft, held in Calgary last June, was one of the Crimson's more successful showings. Of the ten ECAC student-athletes selected, nearly half came from Harvard's roster. Fried went first for the Crimson, selected 77th overall in the third round by the Florida Panthers. Dominic Moore quickly followed suit, as the New York Rangers drafted him 95th overall. Nowak went early in the fourth round, as he was selected 103rd overall by the Bruins. Kolarik rounded out the list with a selection by the Blue Jackets in the fifth round and 150th overall.

"It honestly didn't matter who drafted me," Bala said. "Any kid would agree that being drafted is something you hope for your whole life. If you're fortunate enough for it to happen to you, you can't ask for anything more."

What Next?

As exciting as it is to be drafted, that is only the first of many steps a student-athlete takes towards making it in the NHL. A player still needs to be contacted by his team after graduation (or sooner, if he ends his college career prematurely), and if the team is still interested, they will enter into contract negotiations.

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