By Derek Dunn, Arnprior Chronicle-Guide
The morning after the 2017 NHL Draft’s first round was televised, Liam Hawel sat on the couch at his parents’ place watching Sportsnet. He could have gone to the gala event in Chicago with hundreds of other young stars and their families. The 6 ft. 4 in. centreman who plays for the OHL’s Guelph Storm was expected to be chosen. He had a good second half of the season, and also went with Team Canada to a world championship in Slovakia.
But he wasn’t sure in which round he would appear. He had gotten various messages from different professional teams over the last few months. He didn’t expect to go in the first round or even second. He obviously preferred not to go in the seventh or eighth or later. Or not at all.
Besides, the 18-year-old had an exam to write that Monday. He was trying to graduate from Arnprior District High School. Even if he would become the highest drafted player from town; even if he would be the first with a shot at playing in the big leagues since Dan Fridgen in the early 1980s with the Hartford Whalers; he would feel more at home learning his fate… at home.
Luckily for him another Arnprior family was at the show. Trevor Timmins is widely considered one of the best scouts in the league. He usually gets up on stage with his son Jake to name the first draft for his Montreal Canadiens. It’s a family tradition for Lisa and her boys.
“A few minutes later the Dallas Stars called me.” Liam HawelIt would have been in the backs of their minds that the Hawels were nervously awaiting the results. In the end neither family had to wait that long.
“I saw my name pop up (along the bottom of the screen),” Hawel said. “I was super excited to go in the fourth round. A few minutes later the Dallas Stars called me.”
The Stars, known for big bodies up the middle, chose Hawel 101st overall. It is a very good showing.
The 2017-18 Season is proudly presented by RBC