Tim Conboy played just one year for the Brainerd Warrior boys' hockey team, but it helped catapult a career that included being drafted in the NHL.
Conboy was selected in the seventh round by the San Jose Sharks Sunday. He was the 217th player chosen overall as the Sharks traded with the New Jersey Devils to acquire the seventh-round pick to take Conboy.
He is believed to be only the second Brainerd Warrior player chosen in the NHL draft, the other being Sandy Smith taken by Pittsburgh in 1986.
Last season, Conboy played for Topeka of the United States Hockey League. He was ranked among the top Minnesotans, including 146th overall, in the final North American Player Ratings compiled by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.
Conboy, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound defenseman originally from Rosemount, transferred to Brainerd for the 1999-2000 season. It was also the first year for Brainerd head coach Ty Eigner, who who coached Conboy at Rosemount.
"It was a combination of something that brought Tim to Brainerd," said Eigner. "I had coached him for a couple of years at Rosemount. I knew his parents very well.
"Plus, their was a new coach being named and a new school being built in Rosemount and Tim figured it was time to get a new start with a new team. Basically, it was nice opportunity for him."
The two came to Brainerd and helped the Warriors to a 9-2 Central Lakes Conference and 18-4-1 overall record before losing to Hibbing in the first round of the Section 7, Class 2A playoffs.
Conboy ranks seventh all-time in Brainerd single-season scoring with 20 goals and 46 points.
"Tim is a very gifted hockey player and you combine his competitiveness and his skill level with a lot of other players that could play and it was a good situation," Eigner said about the 1999-2000 season. "When you already have J.P. Platisha, Tom Zaleski, Ben Midge, Ben House, Shane Huber and guys like that then you bring an all-state caliber player to a team that was already established it was a good opportunity for him."
Conboy played with Rochester before being traded to Topeka. Eigner said he was doing well at that level.
"He's physically the toughest kid in the league," said Eigner. "He learned a lot about his weakness and strengths both on and off the ice.
"At 18 years old you think you can do no wrong and then you get on your own and you play that many games and it exposes a lot of character issues that some kids figure out and change and others don't."
Eigner always told Conboy that if he didn't achieve his dreams he had no one to blame but himself. His dream was to make it to the NHL.Although he has many people to thank, the most important person might be himself.
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