Zachary Fucale was still smiling on Monday morning.
Less than 24 hours after being selected 36th overall by the Montreal Canadiens at Sunday’s NHL draft, the Halifax Mooseheads’ netminder rolled over in his bed, glanced at his iconic jersey and grinned.
“(Sunday,) you don’t realize what’s going on,” said the Montreal native. “When you wake up, it really hits you for real. (Monday) morning I woke up with a big smile on my face.”
No matter what, Fucale said he and his legion of family and friends who joined him at the Newark, N.J., event were determined to enjoy the moment without high expectations.
“Every little kid growing up dreams of playing for the Montreal Canadiens. I can’t ask for much better,” said the 18-year-old.
One of his more memorable moments came just after he was drafted, when he passed former Habs forward and current Mooseheads majority owner Bobby Smith en route to the table where the Canadiens brass sat.
“Then you realize that he played for the Canadiens too, that was special. It’s such a prestigious organization,” said Fucale.
Watching his buddies and former teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin go No. 1 and No. 3 was another highlight of the night.
But Fucale doesn’t have much time to bask in happy memories. The Canadiens’ development camp starts Tuesday, followed by the world junior camp. The list goes on.
“There’s not much rest; it just keeps rolling along,” he said.
But the President Cup and Memorial Cup champion said he’ll never forget his draft experience.
“Those 30 seconds after your name is called and you’re with your girlfriend and sisters and your parents and you put the jersey on and you walk up to the Canadiens’ table; You can relive those 30 seconds and you’ll never really get tired of it,” he said.