(By the Broadcast Center News Team)
Sunday, June 30
The sixth round of Sunday's NHL Entry Draft involved two moments that two local hockey players have been waiting a long time for.
First, it was Cranbrook product and Everett Silvertips defenceman, Ben Betker going 158th overall to the Edmonton Oilers and a short time later, the New York Rangers selected Kootenay Ice goaltender MacKenzie Skapski 170th overall.
The first five rounds of the NHL Draft had come and gone and Skapski was still waiting for his name to be called.
Then, the New York Rangers selected the Abbotsford product, allowing the puck-stopper to exhale.
Skapski says it's surreal to be drafted to the biggest city in the United States.
"I'm really excited, it's one thing to get drafted to an NHL team and it's another step to be drafted to the biggest city in North America," says Skapski.
Skapski says he has absolutely no problem being in the limelight.
"It's upsetting, watching it for six hours and not hearing you're named called," says Skapski. "[Going] to a city like New York, you're under the spotlight, I love being under the spotlight and once it's called, it's an exhilarating feeling."
For those of you, who don't believe in fate, listen up!
Skapski was born on one of the most important days in New York Rangers history.
"I was born on the night the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Rangers," recalls Skapski. "I was always a Canucks fan but, they (the Rangers) won the Stanley Cup on my birthday so, I guess I'm a Rangers fan now."
As one of the newest Rangers' draft picks, Skapski is heading to New York City to familiarize himself with the city he hopes to one-day call home.
"They're going to fly me in, it's going to be a camp, get me on the ice, have seminars, go to a Yankees game, go to Times Square, go on a cruise ship and tour New York," says Skapski. "We're going to be spending July 4th in New York; we're going to catch the fireworks, so it will be really cool."
Having to wait it out during the first five rounds is tough but, when your name is called Skapski says, "It's a whole new world."
Skapski describes the moments leading up to learning of his selection.
"I originally found out I was drafted through a few friends," says Skapski. "Then the phone started [ringing] off the hook, the Director of Player Personnel and a couple scouts talked to me in New York and they were excited to take me at six."
The draft started with Halifax Mooseheads sniper, Nathan MacKinnon going first overall to the Colorado Avalanche.
Then things got interesting, as Alexsander Barkov went second to Florida, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning selecting MacKinnon's Halifax teammate, Jonathon Drouin third.
The guy many had as the top pick in the entire draft - Seth Jones dropped to fourth, where the defensively rich Nashville Predators took the Portland Winterhawks defenceman.