It doesn’t happen often, but Long Island added another native son to world of professional hockey last week. The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Massapequa native Sonny Milano in the first round of the NHL Draft.
With nearly 50 family members and friends at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the draft, Milano was selected 16th overall. He already committed to play at Boston College, after de-committing to Notre Dame, and will play college hockey. The Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League own Milano’s Canadian junior rights as well.
“He was very high on our list,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a story on the team’s website. “He’s a very skilled forward, a creative forward also. Our scouts very high on him, as well. He seems like a pretty mature kid physically, too, but I think there’s a lot of growing up to and a lot of hard work ahead of him.”
Milano recorded 72 points (24 goals) with the USTNDP U-18 club this season. He lived in Ohio for a year playing junior hockey, so he has some connection to the Columbus area. As a kid growing up on Long Island, however, he was an Islanders fan.
“When I heard them call my name, I was so excited,” Milano told the Blue Jackets. “You’re a little nervous sitting there, and you want to go to a place where someone wants you. There’s a little bit of pressure, but it’s fine.”
Milano is just the 12th Long Island native drafted by an NHL team. There are only a dozen or so more who went undrafted and played in the league.
Milano is not the highest draft pick off the island. The Canadiens took Mike Komisarek (Smithtown) with the seventh overall pick in 2001, the Flames took Eric Nystrom (Portledge) 10th overall in 2002 and Chris Higgins (Smithtown) was taken by the Canadiens 14th overall also in 2002.
Other LIers drafted by NHL teams
*Chris Ferraro, Rangers, Port Jefferson
*Peter Ferraro, Rangers, Port Jefferson
*Rich Hansen, Islanders, Northport
*Chris Higgins, Canadiens, Smithtown
*Val James, Red Wings, unknown
*Mike Komisarek, Canadians, St. Anthony’s
*Eric Nystrom, Flames, Portledge
*Kyle Palmieri, Ducks, Smithtown
*Jim Pavese, Blues, Kings Park
*Rob Scuderi, Penguins, St. Anthony’s
*Paul Skidmore, Blues, Smithtown