Sleeper Hart ready for draft noise

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Exeter Academy’s Brian Hart had a record-breaking tenure at the New Hampshire-based prep school but despite his success, he’s has been largely out of the limelight of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

While playing on the East Coast rather than in the junior ranks is largely the reason for the lack of attention, Hart had a season to remember in his senior year at Exeter. He tore up the New England Prep area with 32 goals and 36 assists in 30 games and played himself into the 46th position on Future Considerations’ final ranking.

While he excelled on the ice for Exeter this winter, hockey was not the only forte the big six-foot-two right wing brought to Exeter. Hart was also a standout soccer player for Exeter the last two seasons. Hart was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Hampshire after breaking the school’s single-season and career record for goals despite spending just two seasons at the Academy.

Despite his success on the pitch, hockey has always been his primary sport. Over the summer, Hart will trade in his Exeter Big Red sweater for the crimson of Harvard. He committed to the Harvard Crimson hockey program as a freshman in high school and signed his National Letter of Intent in December.

“The coaching staff at Harvard has been great to me and I had a couple of cousins go to Harvard so I kind of grew up following Harvard hockey,” said Hart, the biggest land for the program since Louis LeBlanc in 2009. “When they came into the picture, I knew I wanted to go there.”

Future Considerations sat down with Hart and talked to him about what he has been doing since his season ended, the mark he made at Exeter, and much more.

You attended and played soccer and hockey at three different high schools in the last four years. Why did you settle at Exeter Academy for your junior and senior year?

I was trying to go to Exeter my sophomore year, but I applied in the spring and by that time it was too late so I did a year at Brewster (N.H.) Academy. I really liked the combination of sports and academics here at Exeter so that was really the biggest deciding factor. My brother really enjoyed it here and he got me in the mindset.

Describe your game to people who were not able to watch you play this season.

My strengths would probably be my shot, and my decision making. My skating has really improved in the last year or two. As for my weaknesses, I’ve been trying to improve my defensive zone coverage and my overall physical play like finishing my checks. I also need to improve my quick feet as well being that I’m a bigger guy.

Your season ended in early March. What have you been doing hockey wise to get better while finishing out your senior year?

I actually hurt my wrist in the last month of the season and I’ve been rehabbing it now with physical therapy to get it ready for the combine. I’ve been doing a lot of lower body work and conditioning because that’s pretty much all I’ve been able to do.

How did you injure your wrist and how serious of an injury is it?

I was taking a shot and ran into someone and it bent back. It’s been a couple months since I’ve been able to lift. I played through it, but it kind of affected my shot. I got an MRI after the season was over and they told me surgery probably wasn’t needed, but it was really inflamed so I’ve been doing physical therapy to get the swelling down.

Your brother, Kevin, just completed his second season at Providence College. What has he meant to your progression as a hockey player?

It’s nice to have someone there who has gone through everything before and he’s gave me some really valuable advice about how to go through everything and deal with the pressure. I work out with him during the summer and do stuff that he’s been doing at Providence so I can be prepared for the next level.

What does it mean to you to hold the record at Exeter on the ice for the most points in a two-season span?

It’s an honor. It was the hundredth year of Exeter hockey this year so that made it even more special. I couldn’t have done it without the help the coaches and my teammates.

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