Andy Chiodo Displays True Grit in Being Drafted Twice

By Bill Placzek
Fate just put me there. An innocent draft watcher just waiting for my Blackhawks to change their fate. I never thought I would be smack dab in the middle of a snafu that certainly made draft history. I just happened to be sitting in section with Chiodo entourage: Andy, his parents, friends, agent,advisors,and coach Dave Cameron. There was talk about how Atlanta had made inroads and were definitely interested in taking the young goaltender. As a new franchise they were looking for help in net and Chiodo is a young man who handles adversity well. The every fact that he had to share time in net on the Toronto St. Petes with Peter Budaj probably had already weaken his hold on a draft slot. Loss of starts means lack of showcase by NHL scouts.

As the 5th round cranked into the fourth pick, the voice at the podium blared out, “Atlanta Thrashers pick, from St. Mike’s of the OHA, Andy Chiodo.”

There was the usual celebration with the draftee, alone, making his way to the floor to meet the team’s management. Usually photos and baseball cap fittings ensued.

Not this time.

We all watched as Andy Chiodo made his way back to his seat to the bewilderment of his following. Andy returned and quietly explained why he was no longer on the hallowed draft floor. I tried hard to hear as Andy quietly repeated the story to members of his enclave. Apparently Atlanta, though interested in him, also had Colorado College’ Colin Stuart on their board. When a team decides, the name goes two places. One to the central registry which is the official pick and the other to the podium. Apparently in the talking at the table the person whose job it was to write and relay the name to the podium heard Chiodo, and wrote it.

The Thrashers apologized to Andy. In fact the person who made the error came up to do so to his agent and family. The incident unruffled the people in Andy’s group. They were angered at the sloppiness of the Thrasher’s table. If they really wanted Andy, why didn’t they go out and trade two of the 7th or 8th round picks to move up and grab him and make up for the error? (Atlanta had already traded one of their early 6th rounder away.) They all vocally expressed their anger to Andy.

“This shouldn’t have happened! You were embarrassed!” The draft is in some ways a Canadian rite of passage, where boys take that next step to NHL manhood. It was clear that Andy Chiodo had reached manhood much earlier. He calmed his family. He told them in the same steady voice that they should not fret about it. It was him, in fact who had been embarrassed and if he was all right with it, then they should let it go. I guess even some young goalies has ice water emerging in their veins. Or at least this kid showed the poise to accept the simple error for what it was.

I told Andy, that a lot of times, things happen for a reason, and not being picked right there by the Thrashers, might turn into a better situation. Life works like that some time.

Round 5 ended without Andy Chiodo being picked. With the start of round 6, the Islanders took Andy with the first pick. This time Andy got a baseball cap he could keep and a jersey too. He was also told the Islander goaltending stable wasn’t that full. Just maybe he would find a way to fight through the adversity of being a NHL draftee and make his place to the Isle roster some day. One thing is for certain: It will take a lot more than being drafted twice in the same day to keep him down.