Nizar is excited to grow up in Michigan on his way to a spot with Black Hawks

Chicago — Frank Nazar He was taking it all during the Chicago Blackhawk development camp last month.

“First time he’s wearing a mask today, it’s something we get used to,” he said with a laugh on July 11.

Moving away from the full cage he’s worn with the USA National Hockey Team development program the past two seasons is just one change for the 18-year-old would-be player, who was picked by the Blackhawks with the No. 13 pick of the 2022 NHL Draft.

Next will acclimatize to the NCAA with the University of Michigan in the fall.

“I think it’s going to be great,” said Nizar. “I know a lot of people out there, I’ve skated with them so far this summer, and I know the coaches very well. Growing up, I play with [Michigan assistant coach Brandon] Naurato and skate with him and Matt Lark [NTDP development coach] Who also helps. I think it will be a great opportunity and I will make the most of it.”

Video: Blackhawks chose Frank Nazar as their 13th striker overall

Nizar finished third in the NTDP U18 team with 70 points (28 goals and 42 assists) in 56 games last season.

Adam Nightingale, who coached Nizar for two seasons at the NTDP, said Nizar has already made good strides.

“He’s a real explosive skater,” said Nightingale, now a coach for the Michigan State University men’s hockey team. “That’s the only thing that really stands out.

“Where he’s really developed his game is his effect, when he doesn’t have the disc, with his speed. That’s a challenge sometimes. It’s one thing to be fast when you have a disc, but how do you use speed to affect a game without a disc? It’s competitive And you combined those two together, it’s obviously very likely really.”

Nizar (5 feet 9 175 pounds) said he would also be prepared for a more physical match as he plays against the next level of competition.

He said, “When I’m on the ice, it’s not like, ‘Oh, man, I’m going to get beaten up if I go here. “I just want to play the best game and do the best thing I can do at that moment on the ice to try to create either a scoring opportunity or something like that.

“And obviously going forward, I’m just going to build up and get used to my body. When I mature, not just as a player but as a person, it will take a toll on himself.”

Those who have worked with Nizar have said that if he continues to build on what he does best, he will go far.

“If he can keep it up and keep filling in the net, then all the chances he creates with his speed are special,” said Norato. “Then maybe the next step is for him, I think he only played for two years in the position [NTDP] And he clearly showed he did a great job at that, but keep developing away from the disc defensively, and away from the offensive disc to keep getting the touches where he can use his biggest strengths.”

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