Like a row of dominoes, it’s all set up nicely for Brian Pinho now.
He leaves Sunday for the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., where he’ll spend the next week with the Washington Capitals — who drafted him in the sixth round of this past Sunday’s NHL Draft — for the team’s annual Development Camp. It’ll be Pinho’s first chance to make a big impression on his new employers while wearing the Capitals’ colors.
When September hits, Pinho will pack his hockey bag and head off to Indianapolis, ready to spend the next seven-plus months playing in the country’s best Junior league, the Tier 1 United States Hockey League, for the Indiana Ice. He’ll play 64 regular season games (plus playoffs) in a 16-team, nine-state league where thousands of fans (and more than a few scouts) pack the barns to watch every night and players are put up by host families.
A little over a year from now in September 2014, he’ll take what he learned in the USHL with him to Providence College, where he’ll be a freshman skating for the Friars. And from there, his goal is to play pro hockey for the Capitals.
“It’s really like a job now,” said the former St. John’s Prep star center, who helped his team reach at least the Super 8 semifinals in each of his final three seasons of high school hockey (the first time that’s ever been done in school history).
“It’s been really crazy since Sunday ... fun, but definitely stressful. I’m trying to get ready for camp, get in touch with the team manager out of Washington and the player development guy talking about flights and all, while still going to the gym and skating. But I can’t wait to get going.”