“It was tougher getting to Toronto and leaving Toronto than it was being in Toronto,” said Hart with a chuckle. “The flights were canceled and I had to fly out in the morning both times.”
The 18-year-old Harvard recruit, who spent this past season with Phillips Exeter in Exeter – a prep school located in Exeter, New Hampshire – this past season, was one of 105 players to attend the NHL Combine for the upcoming NHL Draft in Pittsburgh PA., the weekend of June 22nd-23rd.
Hart was listed as the 54th ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting in its final rankings.
With most of the players in attendance playing major junior in Canada, Europe or Junior A leagues across North America, Hart held his own as one of the few prep school players at the event.
He finished tied for fourth in the VO2 max duration test – a test of a player’s endurance – with a time of 13:11.
“The bike test was the big thing I prepared for,” said Hart. “I was pretty happy with that result but too bad they didn’t put players face-to-face. Maybe, I could have gone a little longer that way.”
Hart said he spent his time training at the Parisi Speed School in Saco the last few months in preparation for the combine.
He finished in the top ten in Vertek leg power pause average test (tied for ninth), Vertek leg power pause average (eighth), and the Jump (Mat) Mode – Ground time (fourth).
Compared to players playing in juniors who could play up to 80-90 games in a season, the prep schedule of 30-35 games allowed Hart to hit the gym more often.
“I had three months to prepare,” Hart added. “I wasn’t necessarily preparing for the combine, but a lot of (the training) is relevant, so I had lot of time to get ready.”
During the interview portion of the combine Hart said he spoke with half of the NHL teams. The Harvard commitment most asked question was if he was fully committed to the NHL.
“I told them it was my number one goal and that’s why I was in Toronto,” he said.
“They wanted to make sure my number one goal was to play in the NHL.”
During the event he was roomed with fellow Harvard recruit Jimmy Vessey, who played this past season with the South Shore Kings of the Eastern Junior Hockey League.
“I didn’t really know him going in, but I got to spend two or three nights with Jim just hanging out, going out to dinner,” Hart said. “He’s a really nice guy.”
NOTES: Maine recruit Devin Shore also participated at the combine. He finished eighth in the Fatigue Index, ninth in the VO2 max duration test with a time of 12:37, eighth in the jump (Mat) Mode – Ground time, and tenth in push strength.