WINFIELD – Just being selected in the NHL draft was a cool experience for Winfield native Anthony Louis.
To be picked by the Chicago Blackhawks, that just knocked it out of the park.
"It was amazing," said Louis. "When they called my name, I was like, 'Oh my god, I just got picked by the Blackhawks.' They were the team I watched growing up and now I am a part of the organization. Hopefully I am able to work my way up and one day make the Chicago Blackhawks."
Louis, a center who spent the past two years as a part of the U.S. National Team Development Program in Michigan, was chosen in the sixth round as the 181st pick overall.
Having been to a lot of Blackhawks games growing up, Louis recently joined the rest of the Chicago fanbase in celebrating the team's second Stanley Cup in four years. As for a favorite player, look no further than the Conn Smythe winner.
"I watch Patrick Kane a lot," he said. "I kind of compare myself to him with my game."
Playing on Team USA's U-18 team in 2012-13, he totaled 22 goals and 29 assists in 62 games. He also helped the Americans notch a silver medal at the 2013 U-18 World Championships in April in Russia after being a part of the gold-medal winning team in 2012.
Louis began playing hockey at the age of 3 and later played for the Chicago Freeze, Glen Ellyn Flames, Chicago Mission and Team Illinois. He went to Wheaton North High School for his freshman and sophomore years before entering the development program.
"We played against college teams and we also played in the USHL (United States Hockey League)," he said of his time in Ann Arbor. "It was a great experience. I grew as a player and a person there. We did a lot of weight training and I learned a lot there."
The 5-foot-7, 155-pounder is 18 years old and will be an incoming freshman at Miami (Ohio) University after choosing that school as a high school sophomore. The Blackhawks hold his rights until they choose not to.
"I like the campus," said Louis, who is currently back in Winfield before leaving in late August for school, "and I like that it's not too big and not too small. I liked the coaching staff from the moment I met them and I knew they really wanted me there.
"And I have a lot of experience so I feel like I am really ready to jump right in and have a big role at Miami. It should be a good four years."