Chmelevski selected by San Jose Sharks in sixth round of NHL Entry Draft – Los Angeles Times

If one needed any convincing of hockey’s growing appeal in Southern California, they need only look at the recent success stories beginning to pour in.

Huntington Beach native Sasha Chmelevski is the latest to make good on his local training. The former Anaheim Wildcat was taken by the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round (185th overall) in the 2017 National Hockey League Draft.

“The draft day was really exciting,” Chmelevski said. “It was obviously nerve-wracking when you’re sitting there, but I’m glad that my family was there to support me. I heard my name get called by the Sharks, and it was a great feeling to hug my mom, my dad, and my brothers.”

Chmelevski, 18, lived in Surf City for 12 years, although he also spent part of his life in Detroit, Mich., otherwise known as Hockeytown USA. Nevertheless, being drafted by the Sharks felt somewhat like a homecoming for Chmelevski.

“I think just starting out in California, it’s always been home to me,” he said. “It’s exciting to be drafted by a California team, especially where I’ve been born and raised as a kid.”

Being drafted is the first step toward the ultimate dream of playing in the NHL. Another Orange County native realized that goal this past season. Nic Kerdiles, a former student at Irvine Beckman High, made his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks in February.

After attending a development camp with the Sharks, Chmelevski will likely return to the Ottawa 67s, his junior team in the Ontario Hockey League. He has also spent time with the Sarnia Sting.

A common thread on both of those clubs has been teammate Patrick White. They were linemates in Sarnia. White said that Chmelevski was shy upon his arrival to the major junior league circuit, but his maturity and playmaking ability were ahead of

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