If I Can Make it There ...
Rangers took Montoya at No. 6 overall.
Michigan hockey – and those at rival schools – have
pondered the same question for weeks: Will Al Montoya return for
his junior year with the Wolverines or sign with the New York
Rangers? The sixth overall pick in last month’s NHL Entry
Draft says he’ll provide the answer as soon as this week.
generously allowed INCH readers to share in his experiences during
the weeks leading up to the draft. In his first post-draft discussion
with Mike Eidelbes, he sheds light on his biggest decision to
date and recaps the whirlwind pace of the last two weeks.
The Life of Al
Al Montoya has graciously shared his thoughts on the NHL Draft process with Inside College Hockey and ESPN.com readers. We've also told the tale of the goalie who could be the next light on Broadway.
Get a good look at the team Montoya could be joining in this ESPN.com interview with Don Maloney.
of respect for Coach [Red] Berenson and my teammates back at Michigan,
I want to get [my career plans] figured out for everyone’s
sake. I’m hoping to get this done and figure out what I
want to do by Wednesday or sometime around there. I’ve talked
to the people I trust the most and tell me what they feel is best
for me. I’ve put together a list of pros and cons. I don’t
think there’s a wrong decision – either choice I make
will be a right decision. In the end, there will be a better choice
for me. When that time comes, I’ll make it.
family’s trip to Hilton Head [after the draft] was relaxing,
letting go of everything, not having any worries. It was nice
to be with them. We didn’t really have a plan. Whatever
you wanted to do, you did. We enjoyed ourselves. There was no
set schedule. We went golfing, laid on the beach for a couple
hours a day, had some fun and just hung out. We cut off all the
distraction and really focused on spending as much time together
as a family as we could.
I had to cut my trip short. My family ended up staying there a
couple days longer even though I had to leave and go to New York
[along with other Rangers prospects]. We got to see the training
facility. We got to see everything…well, not everything
there is to see in New York, because you couldn’t do that
in a whole year. We got to experience a Yankees-Mets game and
we got to meet some of the players. It sent chills through my
body when the teams stepped on the field and the whole place went
crazy. It didn’t matter if it was the Yankees or the Mets
– it was just as loud for both teams.
got to watch batting practice, too. [Alex] Rodriguez was pretty
impressive in the way he dealt with everything and the way he
handled himself out there. The reason he’s made it [where
he is] is because he can deal with all the aspects of being a
pro. He’s professional in all the areas that he has to be,
especially to survive in a place like that…living in New
York and playing for the biggest team in the biggest market, you’ve
got to be able to handle everything.
[Jose] Contreras. He didn’t speak any English, so I had
to speak with him in Spanish. He was telling me how his family
had just come over from Cuba, how he left there a few years ago
and how he was excited that I was the first Cuban-American drafted.
It was pretty neat, actually. We connect on that level of knowing
how important [family] is and how easy it can be taken away from
you. Even though he’s dealt with it firsthand and I haven’t,
there’s already something there that we have in common.
the Carnegie Deli, they named a sandwich after me. It was called
the Al Cubano. It was a regular Cuban sandwich. It’s a huge
sandwich. It’s pretty good…all the rest of the guys
enjoyed it. They said it’s on the menu now. It’s one
part of being in New York and shows how big everything is there.
Things just keep piling on and they’re all great.”