Titanic triumph on draft night

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

Paul Titanic played just one game of pro hockey, but the former University of Toronto coach will be feeling the part of superstar at the NHL draft on Friday night in Ottawa.

Three of his boys from the Markham Waxers minor hockey teams he coached forever will surely be selected in the first round of the draft.

He will be sitting in the stands at Scotiabank Place as an invited guest of everyone's No. 1 draft choice, Steven Stamkos, whom he coached for seven years. After Stamkos goes No. 1 overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Titanic might have to wait a while before centre Cody Hodgson, ranked ninth by Central Scouting and defenceman Michael Del Zotto, mistakenly ranked 15th, are chosen.

"It's amazing to see how these guys have gone from kids playing for fun to becoming serious hockey players," said Titanic, who coached Del Zotto for five years and Hodgson for four. "When we were coming up, people always said that the 1990 age group in Ontario was very strong. We'd kind of say, 'Wow, what a year.' But I don't think we knew how good it really was."

A bane of his existence as a minor hockey coach was defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, who will also be among the top picks Friday night.

Titanic does offer up one tout for next weekend's draft: He believes another Markham lad, defenceman Cameron Gaunce, is vastly underrated, ranked 91st.

"Mark my words," said Titanic. "Whoever gets him is getting a really good defenceman. Somebody should jump up and take him early."

This and that

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Hear and there

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Scene and heard

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And another thing...

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