New York Islanders draft pick Andong Song has taken another step in his pioneering hockey dream.
The first Chinese-born draft pick in NHL history (6th round, 172nd overall in 2015), who first encountered hockey in a mall in Beijing — home to 21 million people but only two hockey rinks at the time — is headed to the NCAA.
The USHL, which frequently develops players between high school and college (Islanders forward Anders Lee is one shining example), announced Song’s commitment to Cornell University Wednesday.
Drafted by the Isles two summers ago while he played at Phillips-Andover Academy in Massachusetts, he’s played this past season as a defenseman for Madison of the USHL.
Granted, he’s always been a longshot in terms of his pro prospects, as most sixth-round picks are. But this is another big step in his own hockey journey, which itself is inspiring others back home.