There were definitely some snide remarks from other tables on the GHL draft floor after Wick Schozen went up for his fifth and final pick of the first round. The jarring began after his third pick in the top fifteen.
“Leave some good ones for the rest of us!” Was heard from the Wintersville Lancers table who own only a 2nd round pick, the 40th selection, after their first round pick was used by Schozen to select defenseman Jachym Pauliak.
With the 25th selection on the clock, Wick took the podium again to select forward Jason Mellor with their final selection of the first round. By now many managers were besides themselves at the lunacy of this. With five more selections to follow through to the conclusion of the second round, the notion that one team can make nearly 20% of the picks on the first day of the draft was not favorable on the draft floor.
The Northdale Whales table, run by a former rival Matti Suominen from their Howitzer days, made sure to share their positive outlook on the situation.
“It’s good to see you finally getting some exercise in!”
Their implication of Schozen’s clear degraded physique after years of exile running the drinking hole of small town Warman while ‘tongue-in-cheek’ had some merit. When Schozen met with the media following the draft it was clear that the ten trips to the podium had fatigued the veteran GM. Not helping the situation was the Warman Aussies table being placed at the very back of the room. Upon demotion Warman relinquished all of their GHL draft selections, so regardless of their arsenal of picks, they were banished to the back reaches of the conference hall.
Nonetheless Schozen sat with the media for a good duration, possibly for the lack of will to get up and leave, regardless a good picture was painted of the Warman general managers perception of their first day on the draft floor.
“With our first pick at fourth overall we were able to take a player that we believe in a couple seasons down the line will emerge as the best player from this draft class. The development Aaron Mallard showed down their in the tire fire that was Forest Park in the U.S league, it speaks volumes of what he’ll be able to achieve.”
The taking of Mallard with the fourth overall pick after he finished with a final draft ranking of 18 was viewed as a very off the board pick.
“We looked into the potential of trading down a couple picks. But at the end of the day if we felt we were taking a player that could be the best player in the draft why let the schmucks that compile the rankings influence our selection process. I’m sure there are other smart teams in the league that recognized his talent and he might not have been available at the 9th spot where we were picking next.”
With their next selection they took defenseman Pauliak. Another player that was taken ahead of his ranking, a trend of the day for not only Warman but many of the teams on draft day. The top goaltender Simon Holmer was taken 2nd overall after being ranked outside of the top 15 and Franscisco McPake shot up the draft board almost as much as Mallard to fourth.
“With Pauliak we are taking who we know to be the best defenseman in the draft at this moment. I’ve seen enough other worldly talented 17 year olds have their career trajectory fall on its face because of arrogance. We’ll see with this kid if he has the sack to stay above his peers. His offensive game where it stands is a non factor in the GHL. If he can take the proper strides next year in the SHL he’ll be a good player. If he doesn’t, well I just used a top ten pick on a 5’9 shutdown defender. If that’s the case I’m not sure I want to come to work every day to be reminded of my wife in the bedroom. I’ll find better accommodations for him.”
The next three picks of the Aussies saw them select defenseman Danial Swilley, who fell from being ranked in the top 10 to the 13th selection. Followed by defenseman Petro Kovalchuk at 20 and forward Jason Mellor at 25, both of whom were originally ranked outside of the first round.
“Well Swilley falling to us at 13 was a pleasant surprise. We think he has the potential to be a really good defenseman. The selection of Petro was on the persistence of one of our scouts who backed the selection with the wellbeing of his family. I’d never seen the kid play but I’m more curious about how a kid with a name like that is an America? I swear if we lose a player to ICE operatives deporting an immigrant I don’t care what kind of player he turns into, that scouts family is ..”
What about Mellor, a reporter interjected?
“Mellor from what I understand is a 5’6 midget on the ice, great all round game but a p***y when it counts. Let’s hope this runt can do enough in the first period to earn his pay.”
Outside of the first round the Aussies selected forward, Gotfrids Ziemelis (30th), defenseman, Adolfo Kapp (36th), two goaltenders, Robin Guilmaine (42nd) and Thomas Whyte (48th) and centerman Nael Broadhurst (43rd). During the remainder of the press conference Schozen didn’t go into much detail about each player, but gave special attention to Guilmaine and Broadhurst.
“Well Guily probably would have been the top rated goalie if he didn’t miss half of his 16 year old season to a skiing accident. I swear these rich Canadian families don’t have the capitalistic asset management of their children like American families do. This kid could’ve been starting for a GHL team next season. Instead they take a family vacation to Banff and next thing you know their meal ticket child is falling to the second round because he can't avoid stagnant trees on the slopes and is now being seized by a team headed to the SHL. And that Broadhurst kid. I like him, he reminds me of my own son before he disappointed all of us and said he wanted to join the peace corps. This kid is full of talent and just needs some direction. He’ll get a chance on the first line as Mallard’s centerman. For a 6’6 kid he’s weaker than a starved mutt, but we’ll feed him some steak from Warman’s number one slaughter house restaurant, Gutter Jims. Our loyal sponsor and the best feed you can get in town for a measly $10. Head on down to Gutter Jims for a family dining experience like no other. With a complete open glass panorama view of the slaughter house, Jims is the only place you can see the guts spilt from the animals that will soon fill yours.”
With that Schozen got up from the podium without any announcement and resigned to the convention center bar. Through some investigative sports journalism it was relayed to us from someone close to the bartender that Wick will not be in attendance to make the three selections his Aussies hold in the SHL draft held on day 100. The reasons for such absence are of the sorts that he refuses to sit in the same room as “the mouth breathers who run the teams coming up from the BHL.”
Wick Schozen’s reemergence to the professional hockey scene appears to be continuing in the same capacity that it was before his absence. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on his exploits as he tries to navigate this fresh team of 18 year olds out of the SHL.