Wyatt Schingoethe began hearing people mention the NHL Draft about five years ago while playing hockey for the Triple-A Chicago Mission.
“From a young age, I was definitely looked at differently,” said Schingoethe, who grew up in Algonquin. “Ever since I was probably 14 years old, anyone who ever talked to me it was about the draft, draft, draft. It took a long time to get there.”
But on Oct. 7, the 18-year-old center heard his name called in the seventh round of the NHL Draft when he was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Schingoethe, who shoots left-handed, was taken with the 195th pick.
“It was a dream come true,” Schingoethe said. “I couldn’t even put into words what I was feeling. We started watching at 10:30 (a.m.) and I didn’t get picked until about 6 o’clock. It was a long and stressful day, but it was well worth it and a dream come true.”
Schingoethe had reported to the USHL’s Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks, his juniors team for the previous two seasons. The team had been in a bubble until that day, so Schingoethe and some of his teammates were able to join his family in a Waterloo hotel to watch the draft.
Schingoethe’s parents, Kurt and Karayn, were there, along with his brothers Zach (24) and Ryder (15). Two of Schingoethe’s aunts joined the group, as well as other friends.
After learning he was selected, Schingoethe went on a Zoom conference call with Leafs’ personnel to be interviewed by some of the Toronto media outlets. He did not travel to Toronto.
“We didn’t know if he was going to be able to leave the bubble,” Karayn Schingoethe said. “It ended the day of the draft. It was really fun, a little stressful.”
The Maple Leafs were one of more than 20 teams that had multiple contacts with Schingoethe before the draft.
Schingoethe started skating at age 3 and began playing hockey around 6. Zach also played.
“I always wanted my boys to play hockey, so I started them skating at 3,” Karayn Schingoethe said.
Wyatt played with the West Dundee Leafs at the Leafs Centre until age 9, when he made the Mission. At the 14U level, Schingoethe, Nick Addante and Matt Romer (who both attended Jacobs) played for the Mission’s Bantam Major team that won a Tier 1 national championship.
Schingoethe went to the USHL with Waterloo at age 16. In 62 games in 2018 he scored 11 goals and had 22 assists. Last season, in 47 games, he scored 17 goals and had 21 assists.
In eighth grade, he committed to Notre Dame, but since decomitted and committed to the University of Denver, which won the 2017 NCAA championship. He plans on playing there after this season in Waterloo.
“When I was younger, I was a super-competitive kid and I was naturally gifted with a lot of abilities, thankfully,” Schingoethe said. “I just loved the game and wanted to get better at it, and I did. That’s what I do every day.
“I just need to keep developing and keep trying to form my playing to a 200-foot game and be better offensively. The higher up in levels you go, you have to be better in all areas.”
Schingoethe will play at Denver and the Leafs will monitor his progress. When they feel he is ready, Schingoethe likely will move to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, the Leafs’ top affiliate.
“I’ll go to Denver for however long,” Schingoethe said. “If I’m ready, I’ll go to the NHL right away, but there’s a good chance I’ll end up in the AHL first. It depends on how I play the next couple years.”