Harstad was the 187th pick of Winnipeg, officially named the Jets on Friday, in the seventh and final round for the 2011 NHL Draft Saturday afternoon.
“They were really excited, maybe too excited,” Harstad said from his home in Stevens Point, Wis. “I’ve had a dream come true, but I also know that I can’t be too excited because there is a lot of hard work ahead of me.”
Harstad admitted to being a little nervous as the seventh and final round continued without his name being called.
Harstad, who was contacted by Winnipeg after the pick was announced, didn’t grow up with a favorite NHL team; listing Chicago, Minnesota and San Jose as teams he follows. Are the Jets his favorite now?
“I’d say so,” said Harstad, who is excited to arrive at CC this summer.
Tigers 2012 defenseman signee Michael King of Prince George, B.C., who was rated a few spots ahead of Harstad by NHL Central Scouting, was not drafted. He said recently that not being drafted would serve as added motivation during his final year in juniors.
The Wild traded two late-round picks to Vancouver to move up and draft Wayzata (Minn.) forward Mario Lucia, a possible CC recruit, as the 60th pick near the end of the second round.
Lucia, the son of Gophers coach Don, will play junior hockey next season. The high school junior has narrowed his college choices to Minnesota, CC, where his father coached, and Notre Dame, where Don played.
Another possible CC recruit, Burnsville, Minn. defenseman Edward Wittchow was chosen 154th overall (sixth round) by Florida. Wittchow is reportedly considering CC, Ohio State and Wisconsin after the Badgers were unable to provide scholarship money, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The top WCHA signee drafted was North Dakota’s J.T. Miller, who went 15th to the Rangers Friday night. In all, 21 WCHA signees were drafted including four each for Denver and Minnesota.
2011 WCHA DRAFT PICKS
(includes signees and current players)
First round — 15. J.T. Miller, center, North Dakota, Rangers.
Second round — 33. Rocco Grimaldi, center, North Dakota, Florida; 34. Scott Mayfield, defenseman, Denver, Islanders.
Third round — 82. Nick Shore, current Denver center, L.A.; 83. Andy Welinski, Minnesota-Duluth, defenseman, Anaheim.
Fourth round — 92. Dillon Simpson, current North Dakota defenseman, Edmonton; 97. Josiah Didier, Denver, defenseman, Montreal; 98. Mike Reilly, Minnesota, defenseman, Columbus; 101. Joseph Labate, Wisconsin, center, Vancouver; 110. Michael Mersch, Wisconsin, left wing, L.A.
Fifth round — 128. Seth Ambroz, Minnesota, right wing, Columbus; 129. Blake Pietila, Michigan Tech, New Jersey; left wing, 130. Tony Cameranesi, Minnesota-Duluth, center, Toronto; 131. Nick Seeler, Nebraska-Omaha, defenseman, Minnesota;
Sixth round — 174. Josh Archibald, Nebraska-Omaha, wing, Pittsburgh; 177. Travis Boyd, Minnesota, center, Washington; 178. Adam Wilcox, Minnesota, goalie, Tampa Bay.
Seventh round — 187. Aaron Harstad, Colorado College, defenseman, Winnipeg; 189. Patrick Daly, Wisconsin, defenseman, New Jersey; 196. Zac Larraza, Denver, left wing, Phoenix; 199. Alex Broadhurst, Nebraska-Omaha, center, Chicago.