The Sabres took another forward with their first third-round pick, taking center Cliff Pu from London.
“It’s an amazing time for me and my family,” Pu said.
Pu’s father Jun came over to Canada from China when he was 25 to build a new life. Pu’s mother came over a year later.
Today Jun got to see all his work pay off, seeing his son selected in the NHL Draft.
“Coming over from a different country isn’t easy, and he came over with a few hundred bucks in his pocket,” Pu said. “I’m really proud of him.”
Although Pu grew up in North York, Ontario, he did not grow up a Maple Leafs fan.
“Maybe when I was five or six, but that kind of ended when they started losing a lot,” Pu said. “I’m happy to be a Sabre.”
Pu scored 12 goals and 31 points in 63 games this year with the Memorial Cup Champion London Knights. He’s a 6-foot-1 scoring center who has learned to accept his role on a team full of first round talent.
“We had a lot of good team chemistry,” Pu said. “All the boys loved each other and that’s the most important thing. You want to have team cohesion and that obviously shoed in the playoffs and the Memorial Cup.”
Pu said the team’s long run in the playoffs raised his draft stock.
“It definitely helped,” Pu said. “The farther you go the higher you go in the draft. It can only help you.”
Pu was ranked No. 34 by ISS Hockey and No. 75 among North American skaters by Central Scouting.