James Melindy just wants to get a way from it all.
For the 18-year-old from Goulds who was drafted last weekend by the Phoenix Coyotes, ,that means going on a fishing trip with his dad and his uncles.
“I like to do a lot of outdoor things and I’m looking to get a break from the past few weeks and just relax,” said Melindy.
“It’s an important part of my summers to make sure I have down time to take a break from everything and refocus.”
Melindy who, with more than two dozen family members, was on hand to hear his name called as the third-round pick (88th overall) of the Coyotes, said the experience was hard to put into words.
“I didn’t know what to expect going into the draft,” he told the Telegram, speaking from Glendale. Ariz.
Of course, I didn’t know where I was going or what pick I would go. I didn’t want to put any added pressure on myself by getting my hopes to high. I figured I did all I could to get drafted and the rest was going to take care of itself.”
So what’s it like, sitting there waiting for your name to be called?
“There were a lot of nerves leading up to the wait, but then when you hear your name it all goes away,” said Melindy who wasn’t worried his name wouldn’t be called.
Melindy said his agent Phil Lecavalier, Vincent Lecavalier’s brother, doesn’t let any player he represents go to the draft “unless they are ranked in the top four rounds,” so that’s why he decided going to Pittsburgh was worthwhile.
Heading into the draft, NHL Central Scouting had Melindy ranked 63rd overall among North American-based forwards and defenceman.
The first Atlantic Canadian-born player taken in the weekend draft, Melindy collected nine goals and 18 assists with QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats this past season.
“I knew I had a great support staff behind me in my family. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I can’t thank them enough for having my back throughout the whole draft ride,” he said.
This week, Melindy is at a development camp in Glendale, where he went immediately after the NHL Entry Draft at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
“Camp is awesome,” he says. “The weather is a lot different, of course. Its been the 40s (Celsius) since I went there. They bring the players into Phoenix to show them around Glendale, around the rink and meet all the management. We work out in the mornings, then skate in the afternoon,” he explained.
“The facilities are unbelievable. It’s very nice here and everyone is very welcoming,” said Melindy, who noted the players were scheduled to go on a hike in the desert Friday as part of a team building experience.
After he gets back to Newfoundland, Melindy will go right into his summer training program which includes weight training and some on-ice work as soon as possible.
At the NHL Combine in Toronto in May, Melindy rated highest among all the prospects in the endurance test, but maintains he needs to get bigger and stronger, “because just about everyone at the next level is.
“I work hard in the summers with my trainer Ryan Power, who is the owner of Power Conditioning Inc., to get bigger and stronger as well as staying fast.
“I also need to work on my physical play a little more and make it a more consistant part of my game. I had a strong playoffs this past season and my physical game needs to be at that pace all year. I pride myself of working hard.”
“There’s a lot of hard work ahead of me,” said Melindy, who describes himself as a “puck-moving defenceman and a good skater. I’m also very mobile for a bigger guy. I like to keep my game very simple and do the little things right.”
Hockey, says Melindy, has become “a year-round job. The offseason is just as important as the regular season in that you need to prepare yourself well.
“Other than that, I’m just going to enjoy my time home before I go away again.
“I enjoy coming home and seeing my family and friends in the Goulds. I like living in the Goulds because its close to the city .but not directly in there so it makes it less busy.
Melindy has read the description of Goulds as a “remote Newfoundland and Labrador outpost of Goulds, a hamlet near St. Johns,” on the NHL's online site and he got a kick out of it.
“Yeah,” he said laughing, “they got it a little mixed up.”