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Old 04-21-2009, 12:52 PM
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Default Hamilton kid movin' on up (Schiestel)

Good article about Drew...

TheSpec.com - Sports - Hamilton kid movin' on up

Scott Radley
The Hamilton Spectator

(Apr 21, 2009)
He admits he's thought about it more than a bit over the years. Every kid in his position with The Dream close enough to grab, would. Heck, just about every kid in Canada has.
But it wasn't until he actually walked into the Buffalo Sabres' executive offices, sat at a desk and looked down and saw his name -- his name -- on a professional hockey player's contract that it hit him. One stroke of the pen and he'd officially be what he always wanted to be since the time dad first laced him up as a kid at Scott Park Arena.
"I said, 'Wow, this is it,' " Drew Schiestel chuckles. "This is what I've been looking for all my career."
On Saturday, the Hamilton kid scratched his name onto an NHL entry-level deal and became this city's latest great hockey hope.
But, if you bump into him, it may take a while for him to walk you through the whole episode. The past few days have been a tad surreal for the 20-year-old defenceman who just finished his final year with the Niagara Ice Dogs. So much so that his head's still spinning a bit.
On Thursday morning, his agent called and let him know the Sabres -- who drafted him in the second round in the 2007 draft -- were interested in getting a deal done. Figuring it'd be several days if not several weeks before he heard anything, he mentally put it aside. In fact, just a few hours later he went out for a thank-you dinner with his junior hockey billets and his parents.
That's when the phone rang.
Only seven hours after giving the go-ahead to start negotiations, his agent was back on the line saying they had a deal and outlining what the Sabres were offering.
"He asked me if I liked it and agreed with it," Schiestel says, breaking into an almost goofy-sounding giggle. "I said, 'Sure.' "
Most kids are going to sound giddy when they've been playing a game all their life for nothing and then someone offers to pay them more money than they've ever seen. The St. Thomas More grad isn't saying what his three-year deal's worth but, if he makes the big club, the NHL minimum for next year is $500,000 US. So it's at least that. Plus, he received a signing bonus.
But the craziness didn't end there. The last half of the conversation was all about the details.
First he had to whip down to Buffalo for a physical and to actually sign the deal. Then he had to hop a flight to Portland, Maine, to catch up with the Sabres' farm team for the balance of the American Hockey League playoffs.
Early in June, he'll be at Buffalo's rookie camp in Amherst. Followed by training camp in September. With a whole summer of training in the middle of that.
He's had a bit of a head start on how to be a pro. Last summer, he moved in to Adam Mair's Buffalo home and worked out with the longtime Hamilton NHLer. It gave the kid a chance to see how things work in the big time. He's not sure if he'll be doing it again this year, but he'll probably spend most of the next few months in Buffalo just to be around the trainers and the team staff.
Oh, by the way, in case anyone's wondering, the answer is yes. He has given some thought to what he'll buy with his bonus cash. For the record, it hasn't changed since he was first asked about this very thing a week before he was drafted.
"I'm definitely going to weigh my options and see what I can get in the way of a vehicle," he says.
On the flip side, though, his mom jokingly suggests he'd better remember her when cashing that first cheque. She couldn't be more obviously tongue-in-cheek, but he bites anyway.
"I'm going to have to start brainstorming for some ideas," Schiestel laughs.
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Old 04-21-2009, 01:51 PM
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For the love of god save your money kid. It may very well be the last time anyone will ever give you a dime to play hockey. I can't believe a pro scout after watching this kid play this year would recommend signing him, but he is ultra talented and I guess there is a chance he'll pull his out of his posterior and make something of himself. I hope for his sake he makes it in the end. It would be a shame to waste all that talent.
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:56 PM
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Not everyone agrees with your point of view...he was signed because the scouts watched his flashes of brilliance (as well as his defensive lapses) and figured that with the proper development he could easily be a professional hockey player somewhere down the line. Let's not forget we are talking about a young man who is still growing mentally and physically and who has shown signs of having an abundance of natural talent and who can skate with the best of them. I, for one, think he has a real chance at a professional career in hockey and I wish him all the very best.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:50 PM
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Well one thing you won't get with Schiestel right now is consistancy. He'll often follow up a great puck-handling deek or some other move, with a blatant giveaway or leaving his man uncovered in his own zone. But that's something experience can improve. He shows good hockey sense in the offensive zone though. 'Just needs some better peripheral vision to know when not to make some of those cross-ice passes

If Buffalo doesn't send him back to the Dogs for another year to learn how to minimize the mistakes, he'll have a steep learning curve in the AHL. Either way, I wish him good luck wherever he plays.
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