June 23, 2012
Pittsburgh, Pa. - Three players with ties to the Notre Dame hockey program were selected on Saturday afternoon during the second day of the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft held at the Consol Energy Center.
Current Irish players - Thomas DiPauli (Fr., Woodbridge, Ill.) and Austin Wuthrich (So., Anchorage, Alaska) - were selected in the fourth round, just seven picks apart by the Washington Capitals. DiPauli was the 100th player chosen, while Wuthrich was grabbed with the 107th pick overall. In the sixth round, future Irish player Vince Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 169th selection.
The Capitals made DiPauli the 100th pick of the draft with a choice that they received in a trade with Winnipeg that sent Eric Fehr to the Jets in July of 2011. For DiPauli, who will make his debut with Notre Dame this fall, the selection closed out his 2011-12 season on a high note.
The 5-11, 188-pound left-handed center was a member of the U.S. National Team Development program the last two years, serving as an alternate captain on both the Under-17 team (2010-11) and the Under-18 team (2011-12). The talented playmaker was a member of the Under-18 team that won the gold medal last April in the World Under-18 Championships played in Brno, Czech Republic. In 55 games with the Under-18 team, DiPauli had 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points to go with 22 penalty minutes. Among his 11 goals were one power-play goal, two short-handed markers and one game winner. Born in Italy, DiPauli moved to the United States when he was 13 years old and played for the Chicago Mission program. He was the highest ranked Notre Dame player in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings as he was ranked 81st overall among North American skaters. DiPauli signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in November of 2011.
"At first I didn't hear my name called, but then my mom stood up and said congratulations. It's definitely the best moment of my life," said DiPauli following his selection.
"I was starting to get a little bit nervous waiting. But then it happened. It's a dream come true."
DiPauli, who came to the U.S. to play hockey from Italy at age 13, thanked his parents for the role they played in helping him reach his goal.
"My dad got my brother and I started in hockey in Italy when we were three and four years old," explained DiPauli.
"We came to the U.S. when I was in seventh grade to pursue this dream. My parents sacrificed a lot. My dad still travels back and forth to Italy for his job. I am really appreciative of what they have done. Their sacrifices mean the world to me. I am 100% grateful to them for allowing me to pursue my dream. Without them, I wouldn't be sitting here right now."
Wuthrich heard his name called by the Capitals just seven picks later in the fourth round, 107th overall, as the interview area at Consol Energy Center quickly became an Irish reunion as DiPauli and the sophomore right wing were photographed in Washington Capital jerseys.
For the Anchorage, Alaska native, being selected in the Draft capped a long wait. Wuthrich didn't hear his name selected last year due to missing most of the 2010-11 campaign with the U.S. Under-18 team after suffering a broken leg suffered in the second game of the season. He bounced back at Notre Dame in 2011-12 as led all Irish freshmen in scoring with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points and was a physical presence in the Irish lineup. He finished fifth overall in scoring on the team and was second overall with a +4 plus-minus while picking up 34 minutes in penalties.
Hearing his name called in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon made for a happy day for the Wuthrich family.
"It was everything that I thought it would be. It's just an awesome feeling," said Wuthrich.
"It was really exciting but very nerve wracking just sitting there waiting until your name gets called. I was happy that my family was there to enjoy it with me. It was a proud moment for them; they've been my biggest supporters. My sister was really happy since the Capitals are her favorite team."
According to the future Notre Dame sociology major, he wasn't surprised to be picked by Washington.
"The Capitals were one of the eight or nine teams that had talked to me since the end of our season in March. It wasn't a complete surprise to hear them call my name," said Wuthrich.
And it was great to be able to join his past and future teammate (DiPauli) just moments after his name was called.
"I was very happy when I heard Thomas' name called," commented Wuthrich.
"It was a great moment for him and I was still smiling then Washington picked me just a few minutes later. When I got down to the interview area I gave him a big hug. It's very hard to describe but we are enjoying it."
Wuthrich was the second highest Irish player ranked in the draft, as he was 94th in Central Scouting's final rankings of North American skaters.
The final Irish player to get selected on Saturday was Hinostroza who was picked in the sixth round by his hometown team - the Chicago Black Hawks.
A 5-10, 170-pound center, Hinostroza signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame in November of 2011 but will play this season for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League (USHL). A two-year member of the Black Hawks in 2011-12, Hinostroza was second on the team in scoring with 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points with six power-play goals, two short-handed tallies and three game winners. He helped Waterloo to a third-place finish in the USHL's Western Division. They advanced from there to the USHL's Clark Cup finals, losing to the Green Bay Gamblers, three games to two, for the championship. Hinostroza was a first-round pick by Waterloo in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft and played last season on the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that participated in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament. A product of the Chicago Mission program, Hinostroza also played for the 2011 U.S. Junior National Select team that won the World Junior A Challenge last November. He came into the NHL Entry Draft ranked 115th among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings.
The three selections give Notre Dame a total of 72 players selected all-time in the NHL Entry Draft. The Irish will have 12 players on their 2012-13 roster to be selected in the draft. Joining DiPauli and Wuthrich are: senior Nick Larson (Calgary, fourth round in 2008), junior Jeff Costello (Ottawa, fifth round in 2009), junior Anders Lee (New York Islanders, sixth round in 2009), junior Stephen Johns (Chicago, second round in 2010), junior Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh, third round in 2010), junior Kevin Lind (Anaheim, sixth round in 2010), junior T.J. Tynan (Columbus, third round, 2011), sophomore Robbie Russo (New York Islanders, fourth round, 2011), freshman Steven Fogarty (New York Rangers, third round in 2011) and freshman Mario Lucia (Minnesota, second round, 2011).