Vincent Hinostroza kept watching the NHL Entry Draft board in Pittsburgh. Every time a Chicago Blackhawks selection neared, the Bartlett, Ill., native hoped the hometown team would take him.
When the dream came true in the sixth round, Hinostroza was overwhelmed. But not as much as his father, Rick.
When they said it, I hugged my dad and he almost started crying, said Vincent, who made the trip to Pittsburgh with his father for the draft. His mother, Laura, was here in town, celebrating a birthday weekend with family. I just walked down to the (draft) floor. It was a great feeling.
Now Hinostroza is back in Chicago, back in front of family, for the Blackhawks prospect camp this week at Johnnys IceHouse West. For the kid who grew up playing hockey in the area, wearing the Blackhawks sweater this week will be special.
Obviously its a dream just to have this opportunity and its here in front of me, Hinostroza said after his first practice on Monday. Ive been going to (Blackhawks) games, watching games my whole life. So its just crazy to be here.
Hinostroza, one of 52 players invited to the Blackhawks camp this week, realizes theres a long road ahead for a guy making the leap from draftee to NHL player. The grounded youngster said hell have a tougher time convincing his friends that.
They dont know what its really about. You got drafted, youre going to be out there next year. No, Hinostroza said with a smile. They just need to learn a little bit.
Hinostroza is obviously excited to be wearing that Blackhawks sweater. But from the time he started playing youth hockey to when he donned that jersey for the first time as a Chicago draftee, Hinostroza has always found the motivation to take his shot.
People are always going to doubt you: Youre not good enough. You dont have the size, the 5-foot-9, 158-pound Hinostroza said. Its all motivation. It helps me work harder every day.