ANDOVER — He had heard he’d be selected in the fourth round, fifth round, sometime before the seven full rounds were completed ... or maybe he wouldn’t get drafted at all.
So Tyler Bird of Andover tried to put his mind at ease last Saturday afternoon. He went to a friend’s house to relax and try not to think about the ongoing National Hockey League draft.
Then he got a text from his advisor telling him he’d been selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round (137th pick overall), and any anxiety was washed away like a sand castle against a raging tide.
“A couple of teams I had interviewed with had told me the fourth round was where I should start paying attention (to hearing his name called), but you never really know. So when I got that call, I was pretty excited,” said Bird, who turns 18 on Aug. 14.
This Sunday the 6-foot-2, 205-pound right winger will get a taste of the pro life when he travels to Ohio for Columbus’ Development Camp for its recent draftees and other young newcomers to the organization.
He’ll likely play three or four years for Brown before both he and the Blue Jackets hope he’s ready to make the leap to pro hockey.
Last year as a senior, Bird played for Kimball Union in New Hampshire, where he had 33 goals and 27 assists for the 26-6-5 New England Prep Simmons/Piatelli champions. His linemate was former Pinkerton standout J.D. Dudek, who was chosen 15 picks after Bird by New Jersey.
“One of the Brown assistant coaches talked with my head coach at KUA (Tim Whitehead, the former UMaine and UMass Lowell coach) and was really impressed with how I did there,” said Bird, who’ll begin school at Brown Aug. 30.