June 13, 2003
The Suter Diaries

Ryan Suter is a very busy 18-year-old.

The Madison, Wis., native, who signed a letter of intent with the University of Wisconsin and is the odds-on favorite for the pre-season college rookie of the year honors, is also expected to be a top pick in the upcoming National Hockey League Entry Draft, set for June 21-22 in Nashville, Tenn.

Since wrapping up his his final season with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., the 6-1, 183 defenseman has met with representatives of nearly every NHL team, attended the league's prospect evaluation sessions in Toronto and moved back home for the first time since his freshman year of high school.

In the first of a series of conversations with Suter leading up to the NHL Draft, Inside College Hockey caught up with the Badger-to-be in Colorado Springs, where he's attending USA Hockey's annual conference and will be presented with the organization's Bob Johnson Award for outstanding performances in international play.

"It’s been kind of hectic with all the things going on, but I guess I haven’t really thought about (the draft) that much. I’ve been working out all the time and finally got to go home and see my family. That’s really what it’s been about so far. I try to stay busy so I don’t have to think about it, but sometimes you just have to I guess.

"There’s always people trying to tell you (about the draft), but I try not to think about it. Some people come up to me and ask me…I try to get out of there as fast as I can. I’m not the guy who’s going to sit here and talk himself up. I don’t like talking about it, I’m sorry to say.

"(At the fitness testing in Toronto) you have meetings with all of the teams and then…you don’t do anything. Then you wake up the next day and have more meetings and two hours of testing where the doctors look at you. Then you have more meetings. It’s really just meetings and get to know the teams. I talked to 25, 26 teams up in Toronto.

"I had to give a speech and thought, ‘I’ll just go up there. I’ll just wing it.’ And I ended up freezing up there and didn’t know what I was saying." – Ryan Suter

"I’ve been away for three years, three years of high school. To get to come home – and know that you’re going to be home for a little bit – it’s just a great feeling. When you get home, you feel like you’ve got so much stuff to do. You’ve got to work out every day, which is good. I hadn’t done it for probably two weeks before because I was in the process of coming home. It’s just tiring and it’s good to get away and not have to worry about anything.

"I’m all worried because I have to give a speech (Friday). It’s an acceptance speech, it’s gotta be quick and I’m not a very good speaker. I wrote down some stuff I want to say, like talk about the NTDP and the coaching staff there and how they helped out…just things like that. But I’m probably going to wing it.

I had to give a speech two months ago in Ann Arbor and it went well. But the year before, I had to give a speech and thought, ‘I’ll just go up there. I’ll just wing it.’ And I ended up freezing up there and didn’t know what I was saying. I don’t want that to happen.”


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