Patrick OA-Sullivan always looks for his father in the stands. HeA-s done it since he was a 2-year-old skating in Winston-Salem, N.C. He still caught himself doing it this season when, at age 18, he was the leading scorer for the Mississauga Icedogs of the Ontario junior league. And at the NHL draft in Nash ville, before he even takes a seat, OA-Sullivan will look around the arena, searching for his father.
But this isnA-t Jim Craig trying to find his father after the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid. On draft day, Patrick OA-Sullivan wonA-t be the only one looking for John OA-Sullivan. So will PatrickA-s mother, Cathie, and a ready-for-anything team from NHL security. A I hope he wonA-t be there,A(r) Patrick says, sounding more weary than angry. A I hope heA-d know not to come with everyone looking for him, and with me not wanting him there. A perfect day would be getting picked by a team that wants me, and knowing my father is not in the arena.A(r)
Scouts rate Patrick, a 5'11", 193-pound center, as a top-five talent in the draft. thereA-s no better finisher in the pool. In the time it takes most players to recognize a scoring chance, PatrickA-s already wired the puck into the net. He has the rare combination of near-psychic anticipation and surgeonA-s nerve. Mike Bossy had it. Brett Hull too. ItA-s the kind of gift that starts a father dreaming big dreams for his son. dreams that can get out of control.
For the past year and a half, the teen hasnA-t worried much about his father being around. thatA-s because after years of emotional and physical torment, Patrick stood up to him. He filed assault charges that landed John OA-Sullivan in jail. By the time he was released, a judge had issued a temporary restraining order against him.
[Photo Credit: Kara Wilson]