Macklin Celebrini

Celebrini family enjoying Macklin's whirlwind NHL draft experience

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SAN FRANCISCO -- There's no secret the Sharks will select young phenom Macklin Celebrini with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

San Jose's general manager, Mike Grier essentially confirmed as much shortly after the Sharks were awarded the coveted pick on Tuesday night.

“I would think so, yeah,” Grier said when asked by reporters if the Sharks plan to select Celebrini.

Similar, but maybe not to the same degree as last year's clearcut No. 1 overall pick, Chicago's Connor Bedard, it never was a secret who the first name off the board will be when the draft begins on June 28.

Which certainly makes things easy for the Celebrini family, who essentially got confirmation on Tuesday that their son and brother, Macklin, will begin his NHL career just 30 miles south of their home in Livermore.

In speaking to reporters on Wednesday at Chase Center, Celebrini's father, Rick, the Golden State Warriors vice president of player health and performance, was asked about his son presumably being drafted by the family's local team.

"We're a very tight-knit family and to have your son so close to home would be phenomenal," Rick said. "As everyone knows here, our life in professional sports and the NBA is quite demanding. It's tough for me and us to see them, last year playing at Boston University or next year if he is fortunate enough to play in the NHL. So to have him in our own backyard so to speak, mom can bring him a meal every once in a while or do his laundry would be a lot of fun."

Despite Macklin being just 17 years old, Rick doesn't envision his son moving back home with his mom and dad to save money and avoid Bay Area rent prices.

"I can't see that happening." Rick said, laughing.

Rick and his wife, Robyn, watched the draft lottery alone from home while their other children, Aiden, RJ and Charlie were out training for their respective sports. But their son, Macklin, appeared next to league commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL Network's coverage of the lottery in Secaucus, N. J.

"He had taken a flight from Hungary of all places for the World Championships and the league had asked him to stop on his way home, so the timing worked out great," Rick shared. "I think he was a little bit jetlagged, so it was a heck of a day for the young fella, but I loved the experience [for him]. It was I think one of those unique experiences in a young athlete's life."

The Celebrini family knew Macklin was destined for the NHL from an early age, but it wasn't until Tuesday's draft lottery that they processed he would be selected first overall.

"Well ... probably last night in terms of the first overall [pick]," Rick said with a chuckle. "But he obviously showed an affinity when he was very very young and just his compete and passion and love for it, I don't think you're ever thinking along those lines at that age.

"At 4 or 5 years old, just the determination and the love that he had for it and just the passion, you could see that he was -- I've said this a number of times -- born to be a hockey player, and as much as I tried to convince him into being a soccer player or other sports, he always gravitated to being a hockey player."

While Macklin still is deciding between beginning his NHL career next season, presumably with the Sharks, or returning to Boston College for one more year, there's little doubt about where he eventually will begin his professional career.

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