Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

July 10, 2014

Bird lands the NHL draft

Rugged Andoverite picked in fifth round of NHL draft by Columbus Blue Jackets

He had heard he’d be selected in the fourth round, fifth round, sometime before the seven full rounds were completed ... or maybe he wouldn’t get drafted at all.

So Tyler Bird of Andover tried to put his mind at ease during the recent National Hockey League draft. As it was taking place, he went to a friend’s house to relax and made an effort to not think about the outcome.

Then he got a text from his adviser telling him he had been selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round (137th pick overall), and any anxiety was washed away like a sand castle against a raging tide.

“A couple of teams I had interviewed with had told me the fourth round was where I should start paying attention (to hearing his name called), but you never really know. So when I got that call, I was pretty excited,” said Bird, who turns 18 on Aug. 14.

Last Sunday, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-winger got his first taste of the pro life when he traveled to Ohio for Columbus’ Development Camp for its recent draftees and other young newcomers to the organization.

He’ll likely play three or four years for Brown University in Rhode Island before both he and the Blue Jackets hope he’s ready to make the leap to pro hockey.

After playing his first three years of high school at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Bird transferred to Kimball Union in New Hampshire for his senior year last year. There, he netted 33 goals and 27 assists for the 26-6-5 New England Prep Simmons/Piatelli champions. His linemate was former Pinkerton Academy standout J.D. Dudek, who was chosen 15 picks after Bird by New Jersey.

“One of the Brown assistant coaches talked with my head coach at KUA (Tim Whitehead, the former UMaine and UMass Lowell coach) and was really impressed with how I did there,” said Bird, who’ll begin school at Brown Aug. 30.

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