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On Saturday, June 26 Indiana Ice defenseman Anthony Bitetto was selected by the Nashville Predators at #168 overall. Three days later, the Preds’ 2010 sixth round pick sat down with and explained what it was like to be drafted, his choice to play junior hockey in the United States rather than Canada and what’s next for his future.

Jeremy K. Gover: Anthony, you obviously weren’t at Staples Center for the Draft so when – and how – did you find out that you were drafted?
Anthony Bitetto: I was actually watching the USA vs. Ghana soccer game and my advisor calls me and he’s like “did you see?” And I’m like “No, what are you talking about? And he goes “turn on the Draft” and that’s when I knew. And then he told me Nashville drafted me so, right then, it was a very exciting moment. And then David Westby called me from Nashville’s organization and congratulated me. That’s pretty much how it went.

JG: What was your initial reaction when it sunk in that you were drafted?
AB: To be honest, I still don’t think it’s sunk in. I mean, right away, obviously it’s an accomplishment and a goal I’m still following. You know, I still gotta make it there and just take it day by day and keep working hard at it.

JG: Now, the Predators are well known for having one of the best defensive corps in the league and they have a long history of drafting solid blueliners. Does it excite you to a part of that list now and are you looking forward to being coached by a coaching staff who obviously knows how to handle defensemen?
AB: Yeah, definitely. That’s definitely a plus. In any defenseman’s mind you always want to go to a place where they’re known for their defensemen and they’re known for having a solid D-corps back there. It’s definitely exciting for sure.

JG: You chose to play your junior hockey in the United States as opposed to playing in Canadian Junior and you’ve committed to Northeastern University next season. Why did you choose the USHL and what factored into your decision to continue your career in college?
AB: My number one goal growing up was get a college education and then continue with hockey as well. I think I took the USHL route so I could continue playing hockey and, at the same time, still get a good college education.

JG: You were fourth in USHL scoring last season, do you consider yourself a two-way defenseman?
AB: Uh… I might have to start changing that way. *laughs* No, uh, right now, I’m a good first-pass out of the zone guy, a hard-hitting defensemen, just protecting the puck, making sure the guy’s gotta come through me before he gets to the net. I still consider myself a (stay at home) D guy.

JG: What kind of player is Nashville getting? What kind of player are you?
AB: I’m a hard working, good hard hitting guy who will stick up for any teammate and just uh… I just want to win. That’s the main thing.

JG: What was it like winning the Clark Cup in 2009?
AB: It was amazing. It was one of the wildest moments of my life. It was unbelievable winning it and I would love to do that again someday.

JG: Alright, we’ve got 10 questions, rapid-fire style. You ready? Favorite movie?
AB: Goodfellas.

JG: Favorite food on game day?
AB: Chicken Parm.

JG: Favorite food in the off-season?
AB: Probably a nice slice of pizza.

JG: Favorite song right now?
AB: Stereo Love (by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina)

JG: Favorite song all-time?
AB: Slide (by Goo Goo Dolls)

JG: Favorite video game?
AB: *laughs* NHL 10

JG: What artist do you have most on your iPod?
AB: Wow…. no idea. A lot of rock.

JG: Favorite sport other than hockey?
AB: Baseball.

JG: What superstition do you have, if any?
AB: I’ve gotta put my left skate on first before anything.

JG: What’s your first hockey memory?
AB: First ever? Probably playing floor hockey in my basement when I was four.


INSET PHOTO CREDIT: Whiteshark Photography