Chelsea, Que hockey star drafted to Pittsburgh Penguins

avatar

by Trevor Greenway on July 2, 2009

 

Nick Petersen high fives teammates on his Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL hockey team after a goal last season. Photo by Etienne Fournier Action Photo Concept.com

Nick Petersen high fives teammates on his Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL hockey team after a goal last season. Photo by Etienne Fournier Action Photo Concept.com

 

July 1 front page

July 1 front page

July 1, 2009  -  Chelsea, Quebec’s Nick Petersen could soon be lacing it up with Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin after being drafted by the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions the Pittsburgh Penguins at this year’s NHL entry draft June 27.

 

But that doesn’t necessarily mean he will actually play with the team next season. Petersen still has to impress coaches at the fall training camp and he says that he has his work cut out for him.

“Honestly it’s a really tough team to make. They just won the Stanley Cup,” said Petersen.

“I am just going to do what I can to impress them and hopefully they will have a spot for me.”

When Petersen’s name was called 121st overall at the draft in Montreal, the Chelsea forward instantly thought of one great player that he may, one day, get the chance to play beside.

“Playing with Crosby would be amazing,” said Petersen about the NHL superstar.

Petersen’s dad Mike said that he is extremely proud that his son has realized his childhood dream, but he also feels that Nick still has a steep hill to climb.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” said Mike.

“It all depends on how he performs at the fall training camp.”

Mike added that he is impressed with how his son remained solely focused on hockey throughout the years of his life, especially since other kids his age had varying hobbies.

“For Nick it was always about hockey,” said the proud father.

“One thing that Nick does is work hard.”

Nick began his hockey career when he was six years old, playing for the Low River Rats. His interest quickly grew into something more and before he was a teenager, Nick was playing ‘AA’ Atom with the Outaouais Intrepid. The hockey player then moved up into the Peewee category, where he really began to turn heads. He was named MVP and was one of the league’s leading scorers throughout his run with the Intrepid.

But at the Bantam level, he was cut from the team for being too small. From there, Nick spent a year playing with a Low/Maniwaki squad, but he quickly caught the attention of U.S. schools and was offered a scholarship at Georgetown Prep School in Washington, D.C. At only 15, Nick was playing with the Washington Junior Nationals, as well as with the prep school team.

With several U.S. colleges and universities hot on his trail, Petersen decided to move back to Canada to shoot for the stars. His plan was to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) to eventually get a shot at the big leagues and his plan worked out perfectly. Petersen made the cut for the Shawinigan Cataractes when he was 17 and he finished his junior career there, ending the 2008/09 season with 90 points and a playoff overtime goal that he and his family will never forget.

It was Game 6 of the QMJHL final against the Drummondville Voltigeurs May 10.  With less than a minute to go in the first overtime period, Nick jumped off the bench and quickly scooped up the puck in the neutral zone. With a defender in front of him, he faked a pass and let a blistering wrist shot go between the defender’s legs. As the puck slid past the net minder, more than 5,000 screamed Cataractes’ fans with excitement. One of the fans was his mother Brenda.

“It was a pretty amazing gift,” said Brenda, who watched her son score the winning goal on Mother’s Day.

“It was amazing, everybody went crazy.”

The goal sent the series to Game 7, but the Cataractes fell just short of advancing to the Memorial Cup, losing 4-3 to the Voltigeurs.

Nick will head to Pittsburgh from July 20-26 for a mini training camp before he starts the real tryout in the fall.