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      Baldwinsville's Alex Tuch set to be a lottery pick in Friday's NHL draft

      There must be something in the water in Baldwinsville.

      Just a few weeks ago it was baseball star Scott Blewett selected by the Kansas City Royals in the Major League Baseball Draft.

      Now, it's a hockey star's turn

      Alex Tuch, another Baldwinsville native is set to be a lottery pick in Friday's NHL Draft.

      The 18 year old has NHL scouts drooling over his size (6'3" 215 lbs.) and his ability to fly on the ice and to pack a punch on the boards and on the net.

      Many experts say Tuch is a lock to be a top-15 pick and would be shocked if we slipped past that point.

      Evidence of that?

      When Tuch participated at the NHL combine a few weeks ago, all but one team interviewed him at length.

      Whichever team drafts him, Alex realizes he's on the cusp of something special.

      "It's really a dream come true. I've been working hard over my 13, 14 years of playing hockey. It's a dream come true, really exciting but also really nerve wracking. A lot of butterflies, a lot of butterflies, the time of my life really and I'm just trying to enjoy it but also just trying to get through it because I want to get to that next level" Alex told me on Wednesday.

      Tuch also says his inspiration growing up was another hockey star. Another Baldwinsville native who took his talents from B'ville to the Buffalo Sabres and the Eastern Conference Finals, Tim Connolly.

      Tuch grew up in the same neighborhood as Connolly, the two families are essentially neighbors.

      It's hard to ignore the pipeline from CNY to the NHL, namely the Syracuse Stars hockey team. Dustin Brown, from Ithaca, of course hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup for the second time in three years just a couple weeks ago.

      Brown along with fellow Stanley Cup Champion Erik Cole (Oswego) headline a strong line of recent Central New Yorkers starring in the NHL that also includes stars like Connolly and Robbie Schremp (Fulton).

      Tuch realizes that he could, and probably will be next in that line. While he remains humble in his abilities he does hope to continue to be an inspiration for the next generation of Central New York hockey stars, just like Connolly was for him.

      "With the inspiration stuff, I'm always trying to be a good role model in my community. I have a younger brother and sister that I always try to be a role model for. Really, I always think that I haven't really done anything yet. Yeah, I'm being drafted but there's always that next level that I'm trying to reach so I just keep pushing myself to reach that next level" Tuch says.

      The NHL Draft's first round is Friday night on NBC Sports Network.