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A Minnesota dream come true

Prior draft experience inspires Jack Sadek to happy return

New Minnesota Wild prospect Jack Sadek of Lakeville North (right) defends against Edina’s Kieffer Bellows in the 2014 state title game at Xcel Energy Center. (MHM Photo / Jordan Doffing)

Prior draft experience inspires Jack Sadek to happy return

When 15-year-old Jack Sadek attended the 2012 NHL Draft with his cousin, top prospect Brady Skjei, he experienced the life of an NHL draftee.

From sitting with Skjei in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center waiting to hear Skjej’s name called to watching him don the New York Rangers sweater and meet the team’s executives, the Lakeville, Minn. native  experienced much of what Skjei did that night.

While Sadek returned to Minnesota with a Rangers hat as a souvenir, the former Lakeville North defenseman also brought back something else: a dream.

“He was taken away by the draft,” Skjei said. “He really enjoyed (the draft) process and it was his goal to one day get there.”

Following a high school career that included both a state championship and a University of Minnesota commitment, Sadek did indeed return to the NHL Draft last month at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. This time, however, Sadek brought home the sweater and hat of the Minnesota Wild—the team which drafted him in the seventh round (No. 204 overall).

“It meant a lot,” Sadek said of getting drafted by the Wild. “It’s fun how I played Minnesota high school (hockey) then will play for the University of Minnesota, then hopefully onto the Wild.

“I’m living the Minnesota dream.”

Another Sadek Division I defenseman, Jack’s sister Dani, couldn’t help but notice how elated her brother was when he realized his hockey career would continue in his home state for the foreseeable future.

“I haven’t seen him that happy in a long time,” said Dani, who will begin her sophomore season on the Ohio State University blue line in September.

Dani is just one member of Sadek’s intermediate and extended families which epitomize the word ‘athletic.’ Dani and Jack’s father, Brett Sadek, played football for the University of Minnesota after his father, Bob Sadek, played quarterback for the Golden Gophers in the early 1960’s.

The Sadek family also made an appearance in professional baseball from 1973-1981 when Mike Sadek, Jack and Dani’s great uncle, played catcher for the San Francisco Giants.

Heading into the draft process, the Wild were well aware of Jack Sadek’s lineage.

“That obviously helps when you know how athletic the family is,” Wild assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said. “We don’t obviously totally rely on genetics in our business, but it is certainly something that makes sense and is certainly not a strike against him.”

From Sadek’s athletic roots to his strong defensive play that made him a Mr. Hockey finalist in 2015, Flahr and the Wild saw it as a “no-brainer” taking Sadek in South Florida.

The 6 foot 3, 185-pound defenseman’s career is headed in the right direction, but he still has a ways to go before fans might see him play at the Xcel Energy Center in a green sweater.

“He’s a good size kid already, but he clearly needs to get stronger and put on weight, which most young kids do,” Flahr said.

Sadek will likely grow in strength and size at the University of Minnesota. But his mastery of the defenseman position will also need to continue to improve since he hasn’t played the position for that long.

“When I got my hands on him, he had just kind of made the decision to move from forward to defense, so he was really an infant in the position of defense,” Lakeville North coach Trent Eigner said. “That’s why there is a ton of potential with him because he’s not a kid who played the position for seven to eight years.”

Luckily for Sadek, he has two very knowledgable and talented relatives who know the position well: his cousin and sister.

Living just two minutes away from Sadek, Skjei played a mentor-type role to his younger cousin throughout their time growing up together.

“He always gives me tips on what I need to improve on,” Sadek said. “Brady has always been a role model of mine.”

And the future Gopher defenseman will need these tips from his cousin with what is to come.

“It’s a big adjustment for a number of these guys and it takes time and repetition, learning the game,” Flahr said. “There will be certain nights that it is going to be a big challenge for him, but at the same time, it’s a healthy learning curve.”

Even with the growing pains that will ensue, Sadek can’t help but smile knowing that he continues to live his dream, a dream that gained momentum the night he watched his cousin get drafted in Pittsburgh three years ago.

“I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Sadek said of the 2012 draft. “I did not picture myself being drafted [back then] but I’m glad it happened.”

Nick is a Preps writer for the Minnesota Hockey Magazine. He also is a reporter for the Star Tribune sports hubs and a staff writer at the SB Nation Steelers site, Nick is the Editor-in-Chief of the LNHS North Star and hosts the weekly podcast, "Prep Sports North." Follow Nick on Twitter: @NickKellyLNHS

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