Dylan Di Perna's Ontario Hockey League draft day experience was a roller-coaster ride of emotions for the highly regarded 15-year-old defenceman.
Expecting to go in the first round, in part because he was a big player on the OHL Cup champion Mississauga Rebels, Di Perna was one of the players who fell out of the first round.
"I watched it online," said Di Perna, agreeing to the suggestion it was an excruciating experience waiting to be selected.
The Kingston Frontenacs ended his anxiety, selecting Di Perna with their first of two picks to open the second round.
"Once I got the phone call (from general manager Doug Gilmour), I relaxed. I'm happy to be in Kingston," Di Perna said.
"I was hoping to go in the first round but it's just a number. Kingston is the right team and the right situation for me. I'm pretty happy about it."
Gilmour said the Frontenacs draft table was stunned to see defenceman Di Perna still available at the start of the second round.
"We were shocked. To us he was the second best defenceman in the draft. Him and (Jacob) Middleton (who went eighth overall to the Owen Sound Attack)," Gilmour said.
"He is a great pickup for us. He was obviously not happy he didn't get to go in the first round but it was very exciting for us."
Di Perna, who is represented by player agents John Walters and Ian Pulver, warmed up to coming to Kingston quite quickly. He realized teaming up with minor midget rival Roland McKeown, Kingston's first pick, is a pretty special opportunity. The Rebels beat McKeown's Marlboros in the final of the OHL Cup.
"It's definitely ironic. I wasn't even thinking about it but now I guess together the two of us make it pretty good for Kingston," Di Perna said.
The six-foot-one, 170-pound Di Perna was considered one of the better skating defenceman in the draft. He said he likes to model his game after Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.
"My skating is a strength. Skating with the puck comes pretty natural to me," Di Perna said.
The Frontenacs had to wait out the London Knights, who were picking last in the first round, before Gilmour was sure of selecting Di Perna.
The Knights passed on Spencer Watson, a London native, and Di Perna. London opted for goaltender Liam Herbst, a Rebels teammate of Di Perna, leaving the defenceman as well as Watson for the Frontenacs.
"As soon as London had picked and Di Perna was there, it didn't take too long to decide on (our pick)," Gilmour said.
Gilmour and head scout Jeff McKercher came away beaming over their top four picks -- McKeown, forward Sam Bennett, Di Perna and forward Watson.
All four were ranked in the first round by the Central Scouting Bureau.
"It doesn't happen too often like that. Almost four first rounders (for Kingston)," Gilmour said.
"It's unheard of."
Watson, who was profiled in the OHL draft guide as "one of the purest goal scorers in the 1996 age group," was high up on Kingston's list, too.
Watson scored 55 goals in 36 games for the London Knights Gold minor midgets. Watson is playing for the London Nationals in junior B playoffs. He has three goals, including two winners, for the Nationals, who are off to the Sutherland Cup final.
"He's one of those opportunists around the net. Great hands and he knows where he has to get to," Gilmour said.
"He was one of the guys we wanted in the second round. When he was there, I said 'perfect.' "
Di Perna, who turns 16 on April 26, said he is planning his summer with an eye towards Kingston's training camp in September.
"I'm going to work over the summer, so I come in ready to be the best player I can be," Di Perna said.
The Frontenacs drafted 16 players although one of them wasn't a minor midget.
Slater Doggett, 18, was Kingston's 12th-round selection. Doggett, a left winger, scored 17 goals in 47 games last season for the Burlington Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Doggett's name was added to the draft list by another team, forcing Gilmour to draft him rather than wait to invite him to camp as a free agent.
"He wants to be here. He can play every position," said Gilmour, who figured he saw Doggett play four or five times.
Gilmour said the Frontenacs will bring in all their draft selections for a visit next month. The GM is trying to place several of the draft picks with teams for next season. Kingston can only keep four of the 16-year-olds and those will be the first four draft selections. ... Kingston's draft numbers by position were goaltenders Joel Howard and Mark Sinclair, four defencemen and 10 forwards. ... The Frontenacs have expressed condolences to the family of Liam Kirkwood, who passed away after a long battle with cancer on Saturday. The Sudbury native was selected by Kingston in the 2009 draft. Kirkwood's funeral is on Thursday.