PHILADELPHIA - In 2011-12, Sonny Milano went from Massapequa to Ohio to play hockey for the Cleveland Barons Under-16 team, but he never attended a Columbus Blue Jackets game.
That probably will change pretty quickly.
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"My [host] parents were Blue Jackets fans, so I did watch a lot of games on the big screen," said Milano, who wore a Columbus jersey after being selected by the Blue Jackets with the 16th pick in the NHL draft .
"I thought my interview with Columbus went pretty well, but it's kind of tough to tell when you go through them," he said. "I was sitting there sweating and all nervous."
The 18-year-old seemed more stunned than nervous when he met the media after being congratulated by his parents and a large contingent of family and friends in the stands at Wells Fargo Center.
"I think we broke 50," he said. "They were going to be here whether I got drafted [this round] or not."
He was the second American chosen. "I'm still soaking it in," said Milano, an Islanders fan who trained on Long Island this week. "It's surreal. I've worked my whole life for this."
The left wing, who had 29 goals and 86 points in 58 games this season for the U.S. National Under-18 team, was projected as a first-round pick and plans to attend Boston College in the fall.
Center Dylan Larkin, from Michigan, was grabbed by the Red Wings at No. 12 and Alex Tuch, from upstate Baldwinsville, who also will attend Boston College, was chosen by Minnesota at 18.
"They're your best friends," Milano said, "so to share this experience with them is just unbelievable."
But Milano's rights are owned by Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League and could go straight there.