Pickard ready to pay dues

DEREK JORY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

Every Monday, a Sun staffer gets to know a prominent sports figure a little better in Up Close. This week, Derek Jory goes inside the crease with Winnipegger Chet Pickard, a recent first round draft pick of the NHL's Nashville Predators. Pickard spent the last three seasons tending goal for the WHL's Tri-City Americans.

The Sun: You're actually from New Brunswick, is that correct?

Pickard: Yeah, I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, and I moved to Winnipeg when I was nine years old.

TS: Not a lot of people know that about you do they?

CP: Not really. It came to be quite a story at the draft because I was the first player drafted from Moncton since 1991 or something like that.

TS: Speaking of the draft, how thrilled were you when you heard your name called?

CP: I can't really put it into words. It was pretty unbelievable, every little kid dreams of that moment and being one step closer to the NHL and when I heard my name called I didn't really know what to think. It was such a special moment for everyone, especially my family because they've put in such hard work for me and without them I wouldn't be where I am.

TS: Why is Nashville a good fit for you?

CP: I think it's a good fit because it's an organization where they like to bring in a lot of young players. They told me they'd bring me in if they felt I was ready and that's obviously what you want. I feel that they've got some pretty good goalies up there but I consider myself a pretty good goalie too. I'm a patient guy, I'm not going to be disappointed if I don't make the team this year or next year, but it's something that I'm working hard at and something I want to happen. Obviously when you go to camp you want to make the team so that's my goal and I feel that I can do that. But if it doesn't happen right away I'll get my notepad out and take in as much information as I can and see how everything works out.

TS: Your best friend Colin Wilson also ended up going to Nashville; the situation is almost too good to be true, isn't it?

CP: Yeah it's pretty special. Our families are such good friends, during the hockey season they go out once a week to catch up. Carey, his dad, was our coach back in the day in summer hockey so it's pretty hard to believe that we both got drafted to the same team. I definitely didn't expect that to happen but it's pretty cool because we've been such good friends ever since I moved here. It's pretty surreal for sure.

TS: What are some of the weirdest things you were asked by scouts before the draft?

CP: There were lots. I didn't really get this one but one of the teams I met with was asking if I prefer wearing boxers or briefs. I also had some weird situations where teams asked me to show them my ready position and then they asked me to drop into a butterfly, it was weird, it was kind of a mind game they were playing with me. One team tried to trick me out by saying they found a picture of me on the internet, that was kind of funny. They were just kidding around though, they wanted to see how I reacted to it.

TS: Things are a lot different in Nashville compared to Winnipeg, how do you intend on fitting in? Can you play the guitar or do you own a really tight pair of jeans?

CP: Actually I do. Back in Tri we had a few cowboy days when I was 16 and 17 so I've got a few pairs of Wranglers and a couple of PBR shirts because I wanted to pretend I was a bull rider. So I've got the outfit and I was also thinking about my first vehicle being possibly a jacked up truck or something like that, just so I could fit in a little bit. I'd put a gun rack in it or something.


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