VOORHEES, N.J. – It was an embrace two years in the making.
Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny watched their names come off the board at No. 7 and No. 24, respectively, in the 2015 NHL Draft. They also watched as both of their names were led in by the phrase, “The Philadelphia Flyers select…”.
They then did their next-day media interviews following draft day together. They entered their first rookie camp then training camp together. They even went back to their junior clubs on the same day.
The pair have been going through the process together, so it was only fitting when the two 19-year-olds found out at the same time that they had made the Flyers opening night roster.
Now, they get to embark on their first NHL season together.
“We’ve become good friends over the past two years,” Konecny said, “going through the same type of thing. We push each other and keep each other along the right line.”
“We’re doing everything together and making ourselves professionals as we go through this whole thing. It’s good to have him around.”
Konecny, more energetic then the calm Provorov, couldn’t stop talking about what had just happened the night before. The two were talking at their hotel and Konecny kept bringing up the fact that they made the Flyers as teenagers.
Provorov was quick to cut him off.
“I started talking about it again and he asked me to stop,” Konecny said with a laugh. “He told me I want to sleep tonight and I don’t want to get myself worked up again.”
The relationship between the two has only grown since draft night. The two kept in touch throughout the offseason with conversations here and there about what they’re up to and remaining focused on their ultimate goal.
“It’s always easier when you have someone your own age,” Provorov said. “We’ve both been through the same thing.”
“We knew we were going to be coming back here and hopefully as teammates at some point,” Konecny said. “It’s been a lot of fun. The relationship has been awesome. I’ve seen the way he’s changed as a player and what he’s become.”
Now back to that embrace.
It was on Sunday night when general manager Ron Hextall sent them both a text asking for a meeting. That was where the two were told of their achievements. When the youngsters walked out of the room, they were filled with excitement.
“We gave each other a big hug and realized just what had happened,” Konecny said. “We made the NHL.”
And they did it, of course, together.