Alex Smigelski ’10 appears to be doing all the right things as he tries to start a professional hockey career for himself:

Alex Smigelski just finished competing with other Pittsburgh Penguin prospects in the rookie tournament in London, Ontario earlier this month expecting to board a plane and head back home to New Jersey.

And then his phone rang.

It was Pittsburgh assistant general manager Jason Botterill basically telling him to hold off on that plane ticket to Jersey.

For Smigelski, who recently completed a successful career at Williams College as a center, the news was a shock. He impressed the Pittsburgh brass during a prospect camp over the summer but felt his performance at the rookie tournament was a bit lackluster.

“I definitely had some struggles there and I didn’t know what the outcome would be,” Smigelski said. “I had some ups and downs (at the rookie tournament) and they hadn’t really hinted what would happen.”

But Botterill’s call made the outcome perfectly clear for Smigelski – he would be headed to Pittsburgh to participate in his first NHL training camp.

As a Washington Capitals fan, I am predisposed to dislike anything associated with the Pittsburgh Penguins (though its easy to respect what that franchise has accomplished and the talents of its many excellent players). So I wasn’t too unhappy when Smigelski ’10 was – as expected – sent down from the Pittsburgh Penguins training camp to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. But if and when he makes his Pittsburgh Penguins debut, I’ll have to make an exception to my usual practices and root hard for a Penguin.

Best of luck Alex. We’re all proud of you.

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