The Mercyhurst College men’s hockey program has no NHL draft picks in its 23-year history.
Coach Rick Gotkin doesn’t expect that to change during this weekend’s draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“It would be great,” said Gotkin, who has coached potential candidates, most notably Ben Cottreau (2004-08), Cullen Eddy (2006-10) and Scott Pitt (2007-10) in recent years.
Clint Thomas (1990-92) was chosen 136th overall by the New York Rangers in 1987 before transferring from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Jim Pollio (1991-92) was selected 243rd overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1989 before transferring to the Lakers from Plattsburgh (N.Y.) State.
Yet the Lakers, like the Atlantic Hockey Association, remain under the radar with NHL clubs, Gotkin said.
“The thing that we fight is our league is evolving,” he said. “When they’re taking college players, they’re taking them from the WCHA, Hockey East, CCHA and ECAC. I don’t think they’re drafting kids yet from our league.”
The Lakers and AHA have enjoyed success in other ways. Most recently, former Lakers Jamie Coghlan, Eddy, Brett Robinson, Matt Pierce and Scott Reynolds won a ECHL championship with the Cincinnati Cyclones last month. Chris Tanev, Rochester Institute of Technology‘s freshman defenseman, signed a three-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on May 31.
“There’s no question our league gets better and better every single year,” Gotkin said. “But the NHL is still a little (focused on) the more high-profile leagues.”
- Victor Fernandes