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Tanner Pearson's long road to the NHL winds its way to the Kings

June 23, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Tanner Pearson puts on a Kings jersey after being selected 30th overall by the team at the NHL draft in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Tanner Pearson puts on a Kings jersey after being selected 30th overall… (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

The longest night dragged on and on at the NHL's entry draft in Pittsburgh.

Then again, a few more hours hardly mattered for left wing Tanner Pearson. The 19-year-old could have been drafted twice before but was not selected. Finally, in his third year of draft eligibility, the Stanley Cup champion Kings took Pearson with the last pick (No. 30) in the first round on Friday night.

His immediate family was on hand for the big moment.

"If I was a betting man, I'd probably say tears were shed by my dad more than my mom," he said in a telephone interview Friday night.

That's the beauty of the draft, the charm of the unexpected.

Pearson will turn 20 in August and was once a water and stick boy for his hometown team, the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. That's the former junior team of Kings center Mike Richards, who won a Memorial Cup there in 2003.

Pearson played for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, which was the junior team of Kings left wing Kyle Clifford.

"I know Kyle. We see each other in the summer," Pearson said. "It'll be interesting to pick his brain on what to expect."

In a short period of time, Pearson has gone from watching the Kings' playoff games on TV to getting a Twitter greeting from Kings captain Dustin Brown. Brown tweeted: "Congrats to lakingsdraft pick Tanner Pearson. Enjoy it tonight, work starts tomorrow."

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