Two Winnipeg ICE players say their dreams came true after they were picked in the National Hockey League draft over the weekend.
Defenceman Carson Lambos was selected in the first round, 26th overall by the Minnesota Wild. Gage Alexander was picked in the fifth round, 148th overall, by the Anaheim Ducks.
“When I finally heard my name get called, it was really emotional and I was just so stoked,” Lambos said.
“It’s kind of something you dream of,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work left, but it felt good to earn that.”
Both Lambos, 18, and Alexander, 19, sat through the long selection process at home with their families.
“It was a really cool moment with my family and my grandparents and my brother,” Alexander said. “It was just super cool to see that happen, and just a dream from so long ago that finally came true.”
The moment came after a difficult year for Lambos, whose season with the ICE was cut short due to an injury.
“When you hear you’re not going to be able to play the rest of the season, it’s pretty heartbreaking,” he said. “I think going through something difficult like this made … me a stronger person.”
Alexander said he isn’t sure if he’ll be heading off to training camp or coming back to play for the ICE.
“[Anaheim is] an exciting organization, it’s on the upswing right now and it’s going to be an exciting time to develop with the team. I couldn’t be happier with my team.”
Now that they have been drafted, the two players must wait to find out if they will ultimately be offered the chance to sign with their teams.
Alexander said he plans to keep training in order to make that happen.
“Just gotta get bigger, faster, stronger … that’s just the bottom line,” he said.
“I just need to be more pro-like and more ready for certain situations,” Alexander said. “I’m excited to do that. And I’m excited to see where things go. And I’m super confident in our group that we have in Winnipeg this year.”
Another player from Winnipeg, Conner Roulette, was picked 111th overall by the Dallas Stars. Roulette, a member of Misipawistik Cree Nation, currently plays for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
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