As told to: Joe PackI was rated to go fairly high in the 1985 draft and so I flew in on my own. My last interview was with the New York Rangers. My agent walked me to the Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto where he said the Rangers were really excited about drafting me and that I shouldn’t be too cocky in the interview. I went and sat with all their staff, coaches, and scouts. I sat on one side and they all sat on the other with my name written on a board behind them. Their final question was “Do you think you can make the New York Rangers this year?” I didn’t want to sound cocky so I said “Well, maybe not next year, but the following year, I think, as I mature as a player.” They were all shocked and said “No, no! We think you can play next year. Do you think you can play?” And I kind of reiterated the same point, shook hands with everyone, and walked out. I went to the elevator and was gonna press the button to go down and I thought “Ugh, that’s not right.” I walked back and I was going to knock on the door but I thought that would be too strange, so off I went.
“Rocky, we all loved ya. But when you told us you couldn’t play with us, it caused this great dissension in the room.”
At the draft, I was sitting with guys like Wendel Clark and Dana Murzyn and Craig Simpson. It got to the seventh pick and the New York Rangers. My agent was givin’ me the thumbs-up. The Rangers called a timeout, which was unusual that early in the draft. My agent said not to worry. They requested a second timeout. My parents were watching this on TSN. They finally announced the pick and it was Ulf Dahlen. Obviously, I was disappointed. I didn’t get picked in the first or the second round. Two picks into the third, I walked out. I was crushed. Later that night, Anders Hedberg, one of the New York scouts, came up and hugged me and said, “Rocky, we all loved ya. But when you told us you couldn’t play with us, it caused this great dissension in the room.”
Finally, Serge Savard of the Montreal Canadiens drafted me. He must have asked me 20 times if I was happy to be drafted by the Canadiens because I looked so disappointed.
JOE PACK is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a rec-league rent-a-goalie.
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