For most college students, waiting to find out what state—or country—your professional career will take you to is a nerve-racking experience.
Not for 19-year-old Harvard hockey standout Danny Biega.
On June 25th, Biega waited for his name to be called as he sat calmly amongst friends in the bleachers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California for the 2010 NHL draft.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” said Biega, a defender who played in all but one game in his rookie season for the Crimson. “It was pretty fun. Everyone’s sitting in the spectating seats. A lot of the first round picks were around me and I knew a lot of the guys.”
As his friends sitting around him were called to the podium, two rounds, 60 selections, and several hours passed, and Biega was still waiting to be selected.
But the rising sophomore remained unfazed.
“I came in with the attitude that you don’t know what’s going to happen in the draft,” Biega said. “I came in not so concerned with where I got drafted, just hoping I got drafted.”
Biega did not have to wait much longer for his hopes to be realized. Just seven selections into the third round held on June 26, the Carolina Hurricanes, a team in need of young stoppers, announced they were taking the Crimson defender.
And while the Hurricanes may play some 722 miles from Biega’s home in Montreal, Quebec, the Canadian who grew up skating on a lake outside his house does not seem opposed to the idea of eventually moving down south.
“I didn’t really have a preference [of where I wanted to play] to be honest with you,” Biega said. “It’s not bad weather down there.”
Biega comes from a long line of Harvard skaters, as he shared time on the ice this past season with his two brothers, Alex and Michael.
Alex—who captained the Crimson last year—recently signed with the Buffalo Sabres, while Michael, a rising senior, has one more season left at Harvard.
But for Danny, this coming season could also be his last with the Crimson.
While his rights are now controlled by the Hurricanes—meaning they are currently the only NHL team that can sign him to a professional contract—Biega maintains his collegiate eligibility. After a freshman campaign in which he notched five goals and four assists, the youngest Biega will be back in a Crimson uniform for at least one season, but after that, things are less certain.
“Definitely all options are being considered right now,” Biega told the media following his selection. “Whether that be leave [Harvard] after next year or finish up. It’s also possible to graduate in three years or two and a half years. You can always come back in summers too to finish up so why not get the best of both worlds?”
Despite being the 67th pick, Biega was only the second returning college player to be drafted—after Tyler Pitlick of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Most draftees come from the Canadian Major Junior leagues, where they can compete year round.
While Biega and other collegiate hockey players have a shorter season, they are given more time to work on conditioning—something that helped raise Biega’s stock in the 2010 draft.
Of his class, Biega had the strongest grip and bench press. Biega’s strength helped him win praise from Central Scouting’s Gary Eggleston and other scouts.
“Danny is a strong skater with very quick feet,” Eggleston told the NHL’s official website. “He wins the battles in the corners and can deliver a solid hit in close quarters or in open ice.”