Naturally, former St. John’s teammates Colin Blackwell of Harvard (drafted in the 7th round by San Jose in 2011) and Boston University’s Sam Kurker (taken in the 2nd round by St. Louis in 2012) have been there to offer advice, encouragement and support throughout the draft process.
Pinho also said he has “absolutely no regrets” about spending four years playing high school hockey at St. John’s Prep.
“It’s obviously a great school which will prepare me for college,” said Pinho, who will take online classes while playing in the USHL. “Hockey-wise, we were an elite team the last three years, had great leaders like Colin and Sam, and the coaching staff was great to me. I loved every minute of it there; if I could do it all again, I’d definitely go back. They’ve gotten me to where I am today.”
“We have been very fortunate as a program to have been blessed with such talent both on and off the ice,” St. John’s head coach Kristian Hanson said of Pinho, who guided the Eagles to their first Catholic Conference title in 19 years this past winter.
Despite the hoopla of being drafted and the excitement that comes with it, Pinho realizes that playing professionally “is years away for me.” His goal is to better himself in the here and now — improving his shooting, his defensive zone coverage, and adjusting to the game at different speeds — first in Indiana, then Providence before the pros come calling.
“Indiana was the right place for me; it felt right when I was out there for tryouts (last month),” Pinho said. “The USHL is made to develop players; it’s more of a college/pro atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to it.”