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Canadians: Florian Xhekaj was training in the gym when he learned of his selection by CH

Canadians: Florian Xhekaj was training in the gym when he learned of his selection by CH

Florian Xhekaj deduced from his one-on-one interviews with NHL teams that his name could be called up in the fourth or fifth round of the draft last Thursday.

Except that the main interested party was not in the stands at Bridgestone Arena when the Canadiens used public option No. 101 to claim it.

“I was training with some teammates, and I got a call from my agent telling me Montreal recruited me. I was running all over the gym. It was such a unique moment,” he revealed Sunday in Brossard, on the sidelines of the first on-ice training for Amal Development Camp. CH.

“It’s not that I didn’t expect to be recruited,” he continued. But many of my family members weren’t able to[get to Nashville]so I thought I’d do a little something. My phone was on my side just in case it was working fine. »

The 19-year-old winger (he celebrated them the day before his selection) from the Hamilton Bulldogs spoke twice to senior management at CH in the weeks leading up to the amateur auction, and even if all goes well, Xhekaj was careful not to expect Montreal to select him.

He explained that he is familiar with the facilities at the Bell Sports Complex, having already visited with his older brother Arber.

“It’s such an honor to be here as a draft pick for the Montreal Canadiens, plus it’s the same organization as my brother. Everyone in the family is really excited to be on the same team. It’s great!” he said with a wide smile.

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Each prospect writes his own story on his way to an NHL Draft selection, and starting prospect Florian Xhekaj didn’t lead anyone to believe he would take home the honor.

“I think I’ve evolved in hindsight,” he explained humbly about his selection only in his 19-year-old season. I am a power striker who hates losing puck fights.”

Xhekaj expects to play another season with the Bulldogs next fall, but it will be in Brantford as his club moves from Hamilton.