Hurley’s long haul coming to close

Aaron Vickers2013 Draft Center, Features

It’s been a long road to the 2013 NHL Draft for Connor Hurley.

The 17-year-old started his season with Team Southwest of the Midwest Elite League in September. A month later, he was invited to play with the US National Team Development Program in exhibition bouts against NCAA competition before joining the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks for a pair of games in late October.

He returned to the NDTP and helped the team to gold at the Four Nations Cup. Following that, he returned to Edina to chase down a state championship that had eluded him a year prior.

Admittedly, it’s been a haul.

“It was kind of tough but teams I went to accepted me very well and brought me in and let me play my game and I just went with it,” Hurley said. “Just getting used to all the styles of play that I had to fill, especially coming from Edina in a top guy role and going to the USA and being a third, fourth line guy and playing wing.

“It was kind of an adjustment but it helped me a lot and I’m glad it happened. I’m really thankful that I got to play with all those different teams.”

Though he helped Edina earn the Class 2A Minnesota State High School Hockey Championship in March, his season wasn’t done. Hurley rejoined the Lumberjacks for a nine game stint that saw him record one goal and five points.

He was running on fumes by then.

“Going to the USHL after the season, emotionally drained after winning the state championship, it was an adjustment being consistent every game and I wasn’t playing as much,” he said. “I just kept working and felt I played better at the end.”

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound forward is hoping it pays off on draft day.

Hurley, 30th in Future Considerations’ final ranking for the 2013 NHL Draft, is hoping he can parlay his efforts from the season into a first round selection in New Jersey.

“You always have expectations and that would be a dream to go first round; that’d be unbelievable,” he said. “That’s what I’m striving for but it depends. Just one team has to like you. I’m hoping one team does and picks me. If I don’t get picked in the first round, that’s totally fine and I’ll be happy. That’s my mindset going in there.”

As for where he hopes to go, the Eagan, MN product doesn’t have any expectations from the draft floor other than to keep a dry shirt.

“I might be nervous and sweating but I’m going to try to be as calm as I can and wait for my name to be called, hopefully it is and hopefully it’s in a good spot and a good team,” he said.

And when his name is called on June 30th, it’ll just be one more jersey for Hurley to pull on as his road to the draft is complete.