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2007 NHL Draft Fueled 2014 Olympic Team

06/26/2014, 1:15pm MDT
By Mark Burns, USA Hockey Magazine

It has been seven years since one of the most memorable NHL Drafts for American-born players took place in Columbus, Ohio.  Ten Americans were chosen in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, a record at that time.

Of the Americans picked early, five played in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia:

1.     Patrick Kane (1st overall, Chicago Blackhawks)

2.     James van Riemsdyk (2nd, Philadelphia Flyers)

3.     Ryan McDonagh (12th, Montreal Canadiens)

4.     Kevin Shattenkirk (14th, Colorado Avalanche)

5.     Max Pacioretty (22nd, Montreal Canadiens)

Since the 2007 NHL Draft, there has been only one draft (2010) that has seen more Americans selected in the opening round (11).

Patrick Kane


Kane

The Chicago Blackhawks drafting Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 marked the first time that American-born players were drafted in consecutive years at No. 1. In 2006, the St. Louis Blues picked Erik Johnson with the top selection. During his career, Kane has won two Stanley Cups (2010, 2013) along with a Conn Smythe Trophy for the most valuable player during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff. A product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, Kane helped the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team earn a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. At the 2014 Olympics, Kane tallied four assists in six games.

James van Riemsdyk


van Riemsdyk

The Philadelphia Flyers drafted James van Riemsdyk (Middleton, N.J.) with the second overall selection. It was the first time ever that two Americans were selected 1-2 at the NHL Draft. Van Riemsdyk played two years at the University of New Hampshire before heading to the Flyers’ affiliate in the AHL.  Since 2007, van Riemsdyk has moved on from Philadelphia to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He recently concluded his best professional season yet, eclipsing the 60-point plateau with 30 goals and 31 assists. At the 2014 Olympics, van Riemsdyk paced Team USA in scoring with a goal and six assists.

Ryan McDonagh


McDonagh

Midway through the first round, Ryan McDonagh (Saint Paul, Minn.) went to Montreal at No. 12. Two years later, the Canadiens traded McDonagh’s rights to the New York Rangers. After winning the 2007 Minnesota Mr. Hockey award at Cretin Derham Hall, McDonagh played three seasons with the University of Wisconsin. He has been a mainstay on the Rangers’ blue line the past three years, with 2013-14 being his breakout campaign as he tallied 14 goals and 29 assists during 77 games. It is no surprise then that McDonagh grabbed Rangers MVP honors at the conclusion of the regular season. At the 2014 Olympics, he contributed a goal and an assist and had a +1 rating.

Kevin Shattenkirk


Shattenkirk

Two spots later, the Colorado Avalanche selected Kevin Shattenkirk (Greenwich, Conn.) with the No. 14 overall pick. From 2005-07, Shattenkirk played in 101 games with the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based U.S. National Team Development Program. He then spent three years at Boston University, helping the Terriers win the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four championship. Like McDonagh, Shattenkirk has become a steady top-four NHL defenseman with the St. Louis Blues. This past season he notched 10 goals and 35 assists in 81 regular season contests. Shattenkirk notched three assists during the 2014 Olympics and earned a +3 rating.

Max Pacioretty


Pacioretty

Finally, the Montreal Canadiens selected Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn.) at No. 22 in 2007. After one-years stints with the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) and the University of Michigan, Pacioretty transitioned to the American Hockey League and the Hamilton Bulldogs. He has consistently played in the Montreal lineup the last three seasons. In 2013-14, Pacioretty scored a career-best 39 goals and dished out 21 assists. He signed a six-year extension with Montreal in 2012, which will keep him with the Canadiens through the 2018-19 year. Over five games during the 2014 Olympics Pacioretty tallied one assist.

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Life of an NHL Official: Part II

02/25/2015, 11:00pm MST
By USA Hockey Officiating Program

A follow-up to Ian Walsh's NHL career-path article (see Stripes - February 2015)

For the last 15 years, Ian Walsh has crisscrossed the United States as an NHL official. In this Part 2 of our conversation with Walsh, the 42-year-old Philadelphia native fielded a series of questions discussing life on the road, his conditioning schedule, mentors, on-ice struggles, the evolution of the game and advice for aspiring officials. 

USA Hockey: How do you think you've been able to maintain all of the officiating success you've had over the last 15 years?

Ian Walsh: I believe one of my strengths as an official is my work ethic. I come to the rink every night ready to work hard and give 100 percent. I also believe I am very coachable, and when I'm offered a suggestion for improvement, I try very hard to implement that advice into my game.  

USAH: What is your conditioning schedule like during the NHL season? How about during the off-season? 

Walsh: During the season, conditioning work is more about maintaining what you built up over the summer. The workouts aren't as intense but you must continue to take good care of your body. Game-day workouts usually include a 30-minute bike ride or a couple miles run at the hotel gym. I also like to do some core work and light strength training on top of that. 

The weather in Portland is amazing in the summer, and I prefer to be outside and on my road bike. I usually get in about four days a week of riding outdoors to help build my endurance and strength. I try to play hockey a few days a week as well to help work on my skating.

USAH: When did you realize you finally had cemented your career as an official? What was that feeling like?

Walsh: I don't know if you ever get that feeling. Every night is a different challenge in our league. It is a hard, hard league to officiate. The scrutiny of every call, every goal, ever non-call is such a challenge for all of us. The best players and coaches in the world expect us to perform at such a high level every night, and we have to be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s a privilege to be on the ice in the NHL, and I think that is something no official takes for granted.

USAH: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date as an official? 

Walsh: Being chosen to participate in four Stanley Cup playoffs is what I'm most proud of. It’s an incredible honor to be selected and that’s the goal for every official each year. Also, being part of the team that was chosen to represent the NHL at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was a phenomenal experience and a great opportunity.

USAH: What has been the biggest hurdle/obstacle you've had to overcome in your officiating career? 

Walsh: I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood, that I haven’t had any serious injuries. Other than some bumps and bruises, I’ve been relatively injury-free in my career. The biggest challenge is to be able to bounce back from calls you made that aren't correct. In this day and age, we usually know within minutes after the game if we made a wrong decision. When you make a call that impacts the game, it’s hard on the mind. Unfortunately, we make mistakes and what most people don't understand is that nobody takes it harder than the official making that mistake. Being able to bounce back from a mistake is something all officials must learn to do.

USAH: Who has had the most impact on your officiating career over the past 15 years? What has that person or those people taught you?  

Walsh: Nobody has helped me more over my NHL career than fellow referee Paul Devorski. I've worked a lot of games with Paul and we’ve had the opportunity to travel together on the road. As an elite, veteran referee, he has been able to pass down some of his knowledge to me to help me become a better official. Paul is retiring this year, and our staff will sorely miss him.

USAH: How has the game changed, besides speed, since you started in the early 2000s?

Walsh: I would say the biggest change besides the speed of the game would be the use of technology. It is amazing what you see at rink – teams have iPads on the bench, super slo-motion video replays, hi-def video scoreboards, etc. With all that technology, it makes the officials job appear easy. People forget that the official on the ice sees a play one time, in real time, and must make a split-second decision on that play. It often appears quite different when you see a replay in super slo-mo on hi-def after a game.

USAH: What advice can you give aspiring NHL/professional league officials as they progress in their career? 

Walsh: I would say make sure you have a backup plan. Making it to the NHL is everyone’s goal, but there are very few jobs available. There are so many factors that go into hiring an official and a lot of those are out of your control. Go and work the highest level available to you. Don't worry about other officials, if you are good enough, the NHL will find you. Also, control what you can control – always work on your skating, know your rules and come to the rink every night with a strong work ethic and a great attitude.

Improving the Most Important Skill

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