Kirby Dach settling into new city and organization


For the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2019 top draft pick Kirby Dach, development camp is providing an opportunity to become acclimated with the organization and the new city that he may call home sooner rather than later. On Monday, Dach spoke to the media for the first time since shortly after being drafted third overall at the NHL Entry Draft back in June.

Welcome to the Chicago Blackhawks

In a crowded youth hockey locker room, Dach spoke with the Chicago media about his introduction to the team and the pressure that comes with being the third overall pick in the draft.

“It was good to get on the ice, get the goosebumps out of the way and put some faces to names,” Dach said of getting on the ice for day one of camp.

For him, there are a few familiar faces in camp with fellow WHL players Brandon Hagel, Reese Johnson, Cole Moberg and Kyle Olson.

Being the third overall pick in one of the deeper drafts in recent memory, Dach is not worried about the external pressures that come from being selected so high.

“The only pressure is going to come from myself,” Dach said. “I know how good of a player I can be and I need to work every day to strive for that excellence.”

For an 18-year-old making his first trip to a new city as arguably the premier prospect, Dach’s introduction to Chicago has been a bit humbling for him. On Sunday night, a steak dinner at Chicago Cut was the highlight for Dach, though he was able to navigate the city without much fanfare.

“We weren’t recognized too much. Not that big yet,” Dach laughed off, perhaps showing a bit of his own self-confidence knowing he is not that big in Chicago “yet.”

Added to the introduction to his new surroundings was meeting a few of the veteran players on the Blackhawks roster.

On Monday, before camp got underway, Dach met Chicago captain Jonathan Toews and was a bit star-struck.

“I got a bit tongue-twisted meeting him,” Dach said. “He’s a guy I looked up to when I was growing up, so it’s awesome to be around those kinds of guys and to learn from them.”

Before too long, Dach could see himself in the same lineup as Toews.

While he may be putting pressure on himself to perform directly out of the gate for the Blackhawks, it was made known that, at least for the time being, the team has not placed heavy expectations on the St. Albert, Alberta, native to be on the NHL roster for day one of the regular season.

“We haven’t touched base about my place this year,” Dach said. “I’m just focused on having a good camp and from that aspect, taking it day by day and just enjoying camp.”

Dach, who turned 18 in January, is eligible to return to the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL this season, but is not eligible to play for the Rockford IceHogs. While he may not have much more room for development in the WHL, if the Blackhawks do not see any benefit pushing Dach to the NHL before he is ready, he will have at least one more season of junior hockey ahead of him.

For now, Dach is focused on development camp and preparing himself for the year ahead, wherever he will be. At the end of the month he will be joining Team Canada for their summer selection camp.

Worried about burning out? Dach had a chuckle.

“I’m still pretty young, I don’t burn out that quick.”


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