Following a tremendous rookie year in the British Columbia Hockey League in which he played nearly the entire season on the Langley Chiefs' top line, Derek Grant knows there are expectations for his sophomore campaign.
This week, he has taken a step towards alleviating some of that pressure by committing to attend Langley head coach and general manager Harvey Smyl’s alma mater, Michigan State University, for the 2009-10 season.
After visiting with several schools in order to decide not only which on-ice program was best, but which off-ice program suited him, Grant made the decision just days before another potentially monumental day in his life, the NHL Entry Draft.
“It just felt right, it fit,” Grant stated. “ They have a great program, great coach and I was very impressed with what they had to offer.”
Grant, an 18-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., posted 24 goals and 63 points this past season, good for second on the Chiefs, 20th overall and fifth among rookies in the BCHL.
The draft takes place this weekend in Ottawa and Grant is expected to go somewhere in between the second and fourth rounds.
“We’re very excited for Derek, the way he came on in his first season and carried so much of the offensive burden," Chiefs associate coach and associate GM Barry Wolff said. "Michigan State is a great school and we’ll know he will have a great support network there and be put in a great situation to succeed.”
--with files from Matt Mackinder