by Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
Cameron Crotty was asked the question by a few teams at the NHL Scouting Combine last weekend – “Did you expect this?” Every time he responded he did it open and honestly, answering, “Absolutely not. I didn’t think I would be here. Two years ago looking forward to today I would be pretty shocked.”
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the 6-foot-1 defenceman the past couple years, a somewhat chain reaction starting off when he attended the Brockville Braves camp in 2015 as a 16-year-old. He wasn’t sure if he was even going to make the team. Dustin Traylen, who had just taken over the organization, wasn’t exactly sure who Crotty was.
Just about every step of the way Crotty, who is now 18-yearsold, has shocked himself. When he earned a scholarship to St. Lawrence University he thought to himself, “What? How did that happen?” He ended up accepting a spot with perennial NCAA championship contenders Boston University for next year and, again, thought, “Are you kidding me? Is this actually happening right now?” Crotty remembers following Brett Murray and Colton Point, two Carleton Place Canadians drafted to the NHL last year.
“I thought that was so cool that they got drafted out of the CCHL,” Crotty said.
Now you have to wonder how many CCHL players are watching Crotty, potentially on the verge of making league history as one of the highest picks in the NHL Draft coming straight from the CCHL if selected within the opening two rounds. Most scouting bureaus have Crotty going anywhere between rounds two and four, which was why he was one of 102 prospects asked to attend the combine last weekend in Buffalo, N.Y.
Crotty admitted he was nervous going in, but with just a few weeks until the draft he plans on sitting back and enjoying the moment. It’s probably the most comfortable and relaxed he will have been over this entire roller-coaster ride, which also includes a silver medal with Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge and a plethora of CCHL accolades.
Crotty didn’t have much time to enjoy the moment last weekend at the combine, put through grueling challenges and intimidating interviews with people who hold his future in their hands.
Crotty went back to his room last Friday after completing the combine’s VO2 max test, which measures a player’s aerobic fitness and endurance levels and is described by Crotty as, “Just a brutal 15 minutes.” His roommate Nicolas Hague, with the Mississauga Steelheads, asked him how it went and all Crotty could do was just shake his head, despite him ultimately finishing in the top-25 prospects to take the test.
Crotty finished in the top-25 in four different tests out of 14 – Aerobic Fitness: Test Duration (23), Aerobic Fitness VO2 Max (19), Agility and Balance: Pro Agility Left (13), and Musculoskeletal: Left Hand Grip in pounds (22).
“I met the personal best that I had going in which is good and I felt I stacked up pretty well against a hundred others guys that are top-end athletes,” Crotty said. “It’s humbling because it shows you where you are compared to your peers, but I thought I handled it pretty well.”
The NHL Draft takes place June 23 and 24 and Crotty will be attending the Chicago, Ill. hosted event. It’s probably safe to say no matter where he gets picked, whether he makes CCHL history or not, while he sits there waiting for his name to get called it’ll be another one of those moments where Crotty thinks to himself, Is this actually happening?
“I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch because it hasn’t happened yet. If it does happen it’s going to be pretty phenomenal,” Crotty said. “The draft is in couple of weeks now and I’m just going to take the next couple of weeks and enjoy all the work I’ve put in for it and hopefully all goes well for me.”