American by birth, Canadian by hockey

PATRICK WILLIAMS -- For SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 11:00 PM ET

COLUMBUS -- Do not include Carolina Hurricanes first-rounder Brandon Sutter as part of the American invasion that garnered headlines at this past weekend's NHL Entry Draft.

Much of the chatter out of the event, of course, happened to centre on the notion that the Americans are an impending threat to Canadian hockey dominance.

After all, Americans Patrick Kane and James vanRiemsdyk respectively went first and second overall in the event, NHL clubs selected 10 American players in total during the first round, and the NHL made American representation a focal point of its news releases.

Technically, Sutter, a forward with the Red Deer Rebels, could have qualified as the 11th American to be taken in the first round, as he was born on Long Island, N.Y. while his father Brent was skating for the New York Islanders.

By birthright and through his early years as a youngster growing up on Long Island and in Chicago, Sutter has an American pedigree and is a dual-citizen of the United States and Canada. Sutter skated for Team Canada in the 2006 Under-18 World Junior Cup.

"I do see myself as a Canadian," stated Sutter, who returned to his father's native Alberta, grew up in Red Deer and now skates for the hometown Rebels. "It definitely feels like home for me now. I love it there."

For all of the talk of an American push, worth noting is that Canadians taken in the Draft still outnumbered Americans by a 102-63 count. As well, Canadians took seven of the first 10 draft slots. And while Kane is American-born, he chose the CHL route and skates in the OHL for the London Knights.

As for Sutter, playing minor hockey, even in a respectable hockey market like Chicago, could not compare with the competition offered in Red Deer.

"I think that playing down in the States, there's not much," Sutter explained. "It's hockey, but coming up to Canada, it was a big wake-up call, and it's a way of life. It's home."


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