July 2, 2013 by conteconfidential
Zach Sanford was one of four future Boston College hockey players selected at the NHL Draft June 30. The 6-foot-3 winger saw his stock rise dramatically over the course of this season and ended up being selected by the Washington Capitals in the second round, 61st overall. The Capitals traded three of their picks (the 84th, 114th and 127th) to the Winnipeg Jets to have the chance to take Sanford, who is seen as a future power forward with considerable offensive upside. Conte Confidential caught up with Sanford to talk about his NHL draft experience, his decision to go the USHL route and how he managed to play varsity volleyball while preparing for the NHL combine.
1) What did it feel like when your name was called?
It was definitely a relief and exciting too. There were a couple picks before where they said Zach and I thought they were going to call me. I got pretty mad when that happened, but when they finally called my name it was awesome. I mean, they traded three picks to get me so that was even more exciting. I guess that meant they really wanted me. It was definitely exciting for me as well my family that was there with me. It was probably the best thing that’s happened in my life.
2) Did you expect to get picked in the second round all along or was that surprising to you?
I knew I was going to get picked in the second or third probably. That was what I was hearing a lot. It was kind of a surprise when it came down to the last couple of picks in the second round. It was definitely exciting. The second round is really good.
3) Other than getting drafted, what was the best part of going to New Jersey for the draft?
Meeting with all the teams, all the scouts, all the guys, a couple of GMs here and there. Just meeting all those guys you hear about and see on TV. It was pretty cool to get to talk to them, learn from them and even tell them about myself a little bit.
Zach Sanford had 36 points (12g-24a) in 37 regular season games and eight points (4g-4a) in eight playoff games for the Middlesex Islanders of the EJHL this year (photo credit: Islanders Hockey Club)
4) Now, that’s it all over, what are you feeling the most?
I think definitely relief. There was a lot going on. Now, I can relax a little bit, just focus on working out and skating and getting ready for next year.
5) You’re officially going to the Waterloo Black Hawks this fall. What sparked that decision? [Sanford is expected to arrive at BC in the fall of 2014.]
The USHL is a great league and I wanted to go there and move away from home to challenge myself. It’ll be a good step up from the EJ [EJHL].
6) Did you happen to run into the other BC recruits who were drafted? [Ian McCoshen, Steven Santini and Ryan Fitzgerald were all in attendance and were picked.]
I saw Ian. I talked to him for a couple minutes but that was about it. It was kind of rushed; we both had to go.
7) I know Santini grew up a New York Rangers fan and was drafted by the rival New Jersey Devils. Were you in a similar situation when you were picked by the Capitals?
I’ve been a Bruins fan my whole life being from around there. The pick right before that was actually the Bruins so I was kind of hoping that I’d get picked by them and then that one passed. Washington is a great spot and a great team. I think I’ll fit in down the road with the offensive style of play so I’m really excited about that.
8) You played volleyball for Pinkerton Academy during the lead up to the NHL draft and were named to the All-State second-team. How were you able to balance competing at a high level in volleyball with preparing for the NHL combine and everything else?
My coach and team were actually really good about it. If I had to miss a practice or be late to a game for a meeting or a workout, they didn’t really mind. My athletic director helped out a lot too. Even the people at school, I had to miss bunch of stuff for the combine and meetings. It was actually pretty easy with everyone helping me out.
Interview by Jen Dobias