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Big day arrives for Fargo Force goalie Mike Lee

Mike Lee could be a first-round draft pick in this weekend's NHL draft. Nervous? Nah. He's just looking forward to a weekend getaway with his family in Montreal. "There's nothing to be nervous about because this is the fun part," Lee said. "It on...

Mike Lee
Fargo Force goalie Mike Lee. Forum file photo

Mike Lee could be a first-round draft pick in this weekend's NHL draft.

Nervous? Nah. He's just looking forward to a weekend getaway with his family in Montreal.

"There's nothing to be nervous about because this is the fun part," Lee said. "It only happens once, so you have to enjoy it.

"None of this is in your control anymore. My mindset is that we're going to go there and have some fun."

The first round of the NHL draft will be tonight in Montreal, starting at 6 p.m. and will be televised on Versus. Rounds 2-7 will take place on Saturday.

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The goaltender from Roseau, Minn., has been projected to be picked in a number of different spots, but should go somewhere in the first couple of rounds - but even that is up in the air.

Goaltenders on draft day are tricky. There have been years where a number of goalies go earlier than expected, and years where the opposite happened.

"I don't look at any of that stuff. I just worry about what I do in the rink," Lee said. "And that's all you can worry about because it's the only thing you have control over.

"It can go strange sometimes with goaltenders. All you can do is wait and see."

Lee has been open about his dream to be the first goaltender from Roseau to play in the NHL, and he could be taken earlier than any other Roseau player.

Aaron Ness, Lee's teammate at Roseau who is now at the University of Minnesota, currently holds that distinction after being taken with the 40th overall pick in last year's draft.

No Roseau player has ever been selected in the first round.

"It was a lot of fun last year, seeing Aaron have that kind of success at the draft," Lee said. "To be able to go to Montreal and have that same kind of opportunity is pretty special."

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Lee's Force teammate Josh Birkholz should also go in this weekend's draft. He was ranked 43rd among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final ranking.

Nick Oliver, who was Lee's teammate in football and hockey in high school - and for 10 games with the Force - is also in his draft year.

Lee and Oliver will be teammates at St. Cloud State, as well.

"There's a great chance of him getting taken, too, and it's pretty exciting for us," Lee said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins' blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com

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