At first glance, Joseph Callahan ’05 and Christopher Higgins ’05 seem to have an enviable room draw. With what appears to be a king-sized bed in one room, they seem to be sophomores with a three-room double. But Higgins and Callahan — who were both drafted into the NHL this summer — actually share a bedroom in a quad.
In June, the Montreal Canadiens drafted Higgins — a center for Yale’s hockey team — with the 14th overall pick of the draft. The Phoenix Coyotes chose Callahan, a Yale defenseman, in the third round with the 70th overall pick.
For reasons known only to a privileged few, these two NHL prospects have unbunked their beds and placed them within inches of each other.
“We call it the big bed,” Higgins said. “It’s interesting — A lot of girls want to know what the big bed’s about.”
But Higgins and Callahan are better known for their performance on the ice.
Men’s hockey head coach Timothy Taylor said he was pleased with his drafted players, who include Callahan, Higgins, Ryan Steeves ’04 and Jeffrey Dwyer ’04. Taylor said Dwyer was drafted two years ago.
“[The draft] is mostly an individual thing,” Taylor said. “Both [Callahan and Higgins] went a little higher than they were projected. It’s a tribute to the year they had.”
Both Callahan and Higgins said they think they have been playing hockey since they were four years old. In middle school, they played in town leagues and traveling teams.
In high school, both players said they were recruited at a number of colleges. They narrowed their choices down to Yale and Boston College. Higgins also looked at Harvard.
“I felt really comfortable with [Yale],” Higgins said. “I wanted a place where I could play Division I hockey and get a great education.”
Callahan said his visit to Yale was one of the factors in his decision to attend Yale.
Both players said they are unsure about whether they will leave Yale or stay and graduate.
“You just got to see how the season goes — and see where you’re at,” Higgins said.
Taylor said he has tried to get his drafted players prepared to go to the NHL upon graduating so they will spend as little time in the minor leagues as possible.
“I certainly hope they weigh all the factors,” Taylor said. “[They could use] a college degree tucked in their back pocket.”
Taylor said he also recognized that money could lure college players into the NHL before graduation.
Getting out of the minor leagues is extremely important financially for the players. Higgins said he stands to make about $1.3 million a year for three years if he goes straight to the NHL. Higgins said if he spends time in the AHL, a minor league system, his salary would be much less while he remained in the AHL.
Taylor said the team is happy for the drafted players.
“To me, [Higgins and Callahan] are very humble, hard-working kids,” Taylor said. “I don’t think they’ve let it go to their heads — They continue to play unselfishly.”
Higgins also said the team has been very supportive of Callahan and him.
“They were happy for me and Joe [Callahan],” Higgins said. “They push us to be better players.”