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HOCKEY: Trouba living his dream as a top 10 draft pick

Jacob Trouba, center, a defenseman, stands with officials from the Winnipeg Jets after being chosen ninth overall in the first round of the NHL hockey draft on Friday, June 22, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

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The dream of many kids is to become a professional athlete.

Visions of being a high draft pick and going on to be a star on the court, the field or the ice is a daily occurrence for the majority of children.

It's rare, for sure, but every now and then those dreams do turn into reality.

Jacob Trouba is one of those rare exceptions.

Trouba, a graduate of Rochester Adams, was the No. 9 overall selection by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2012 NHL Draft back on June 22.

It was a pretty cool feeling to be drafted, especially No. 9, Trouba said. Its something I will never forget.

A 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensemen, Trouba is just 18 years old, but has been playing on the U.S. National Development Team Program for the last two years and has competed on a national level in hockey since the fifth grade.

The buzz on Trouba started when he was a freshman as the University of Michigan pursued his talents for college.

I never really thought I was too great, Trouba said. But, when I was in the ninth grade, Michigan came and offered me a scholarship. I was really shocked by it. I think that is when I knew I may have a future in hockey.

The last two years have seen Trouba playing for the U.S. Under-18 team and being stationed in Ann Arbor. In 31 games in the 2010-11 season, Trouba had three goals and four assists. Last season, Trouba played in 50 games and had nine goals with 22 assists. He has been part of two gold-medal winning Under-18 World Championship teams.

The success on the world stage led to draft day, where Trouba knew the Jets may come calling.

I had had some good talks with the Jets (leading up to the draft) so I wasnt too surprised to be picked by them, but still, after each pick your stomach turns a little bit more, Trouba said of the draft. It was good to be there with my family. That helped a lot. When my name was called, it was a great feeling and somewhat of a relief.

Despite being drafted in the top 10, Trouba will still be heading to the University of Michigan next season to be a Wolverine.

I just got back from rookie camp in Winnipeg and the organization was very supportive about me going to Michigan, Trouba said. We will be in contact and when they want me and when I feel I am ready, then I will make the jump there and see what happens.

Trouba is not putting a timetable on when he will look to enter the Jets organization. As a physical, athletic defenseman, Trouba knows that bulking up is going to be very important for his future.

I just want to take things year-by-year, Trouba said. I know that at 6-2, 195 pounds, I need to get bigger if I want to play my style of play at the next level. I just want to get stronger and improve my skills.

As he looks to improve, Trouba still has his sights set on more championships.

I think the dream of any kid playing hockey is to win championships, Trouba said of his goals at Michigan. I think Michigan is going to be a strong team next year and I want to win a national championship.

One of the advantages of Trouba playing for the U.S. National Team is that he has lived on his own for the past year, which has him prepared for college life, and eventually life as a professional.

I think I have an advantage for having lived away from my family the last year. I already know how to take care of myself and live away from family, Trouba said. I think I know how to focus on what I need to focus on and be responsible on my own.

Last Updated: 7/18/2012 5:09:57 PM EST

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