For the first time, a Chinese player has been selected in the NHL draft. Andong Song was chosen by the New York Islanders with the No. 172 pick in the draft today. The defenseman, who goes by the name "Misha," started playing hockey on a smaller-than-normal rink in Beijing when his mother was trying to find him a sport. Once his talent was spotted, his family moved to Canada and he quickly excelled when he began playing as a 10-year-old. Now his pro rights belong to the Islanders, his selection broadcast live in China. "Feels like I'm a star already," said Andong, who was followed by a Chinese TV crew today. "It's a lot of pressure from people back home, but good pressure. I hope that will motivate me to become a better player and hopefully I'll make them proud."
The fact he's made it this far is something in itself. When his family moved to Ontario and coaches there heard that a Chinese boy was trying out, there was plenty of skepticism. He proved himself at each level, and was an assistant captain this past season on the varsity at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. The 18-year-old Andong, who plays on one of China's national teams, plans to attend Philips Andover Academy in Massachusetts this coming school year as a postgraduate student. After that, he expects to play college hockey. "I'm really honored to be the first Chinese player to be drafted," Andong said. "It's been great so far."