NHL DRAFT A “COOL” EXPERIENCE FOR CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

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It’s a big world but sometimes it can feel small and tidy.

Two young men who grew up together on the Island, first in Sooke and then in the Juan de Fuca minor hockey program, were selected in the fifth round of the National Hockey League draft on Saturday.

“It’s cool that two good friends would be picked so close together,” said defenceman Dysin Mayo, who went 133rd overall to the Arizona Coyotes.

Goaltender Alec Dillon, who played last season for the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, was selected 150th overall by the Los Angeles Kings.

“We texted each other immediately and will probably hang out together tonight.”

Mayo took full advantage of a long playoff run by the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Memorial Cup championship. He had plenty of playing time to show NHL scouts that he is a capable two-way blueliner.

The summer will consist of a lot of time spent in the PISE gym before heading to the Coyotes development camp next month in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he will suddenly be up against men, not juniors.

“I want to get bigger and increase my overall strength so I can win more battles on the ice,” said Mayo.

The six-foot-five Dillon was playing Junior B with the West Shore Wolves two years ago after being cut by the Grizzlies. The Belmont Secondary grad responded with a breakout rookie season last year in the BCHL with the Grizzlies, which resulted in him being among 34 goaltenders invited earlier this month to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence goaltending camp in Calgary. Dillon has a U.S. collegiate NCAA athletic scholarship offer to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute beginning in 2015-16. Dillon’s WHL rights are held by the Oil Kings, leaving open the possibility of the old Island friends playing together in Edmonton.

“We’re hoping to get Alec out [to play in the WHL for the Oil Kings],” said Mayo.

Meanwhile, six-foot-one centre Chase Lang from Nanaimo, who played in the WHL for the Calgary Hitmen, was taken 167th overall in the sixth round by the Minnesota Wild and power-forward Austin Carroll of the WHL’s Victoria Royals 184th overall in the seventh round by the Calgary Flames.

Carroll led the Royals in goals last season with 34 and was selected as a 19-year-old, while most picked in the draft are 18. The Arizona-raised winger, whose family is originally from Calgary, is eligible to return to the Royals in 2014-15 as an over-age 20-year-old.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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