By Paul Osborne, Guelph Mercury
It was a hectic and strenuous week for future National Hockey League draft picks Isaac Ratcliffe, Dimitri Samorukov and Nate Schnarr. The Guelph Storm players spent last week being pushed with questions and physical challenges at the NHL Scouting Combine. Most of the Canadian players met in Toronto a week ago Saturday, spent a fun night in Toronto and then were herded onto a bus for the short trip to Buffalo Sunday morning.
Ratcliffe, who roomed with old friend Jack Studnicka of the Oshawa Generals, said Sunday was for checking into the hotel, gathering your timetable for visiting with NHL teams, then having free time to check out the city. The grilling began first thing Monday morning. Each NHL team had their own private suite in the KeyBank Centre, home to the Buffalo Sabres, and prospects filtered through for 20-minute interviews. This part of the process took four-and-a-half days to complete.
“It is pretty intense,” said Ratcliffe who was one of only two players of the 104 invited that talked to 30 of the 31 NHL teams. “You have to be on your A-game. There is a lot of repetition but some teams get a little tricky with some of their questions trying to understand your character and confidence level.”
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