Anthony Stewart scored 32 goals for the junior Kingston (Ont.)
Frontenacs in 2002-03, but beyond his on-ice skills he has about
as much in common with last weekend's other 29 first-round NHL
draft picks as Jimmy Stewart. His English-Canadian mother, Susan,
and Jamaican father, Norm, raised him and his six siblings in the
rough-and-tumble area of Scarborough, Ont., a working-class
suburb of Toronto. For a time, when his family couldn't even
afford to live in their small apartment, they resided in a seedy
motel. Instead of being shuttled to 6 a.m. youth practices in the
family SUV, Anthony often boarded buses at 4:30 a.m. and
sometimes had to sneak on because he couldn't afford the fare.
"Hockey is not a poor man's game," says Stewart, an 18-year-old
center whom the Panthers took with the 25th pick. "When other
guys hear about my background, they're shocked."
Florida is counting on the 6'1", 224-pound Stewart to develop
into a force in some of the rougher areas of the ice. Intent on
injecting grit into a passive team, Panthers general manager Rick
Dudley sent three lower-round picks to the Lightning so that he
could take Stewart. Earlier in the draft Dudley took 6'2",
201-pound center Nathan Horton, 18, with the third pick. (Florida
traded the No. 1 selection to the Penguins for that No. 3 pick
plus other considerations.) "Our scouting staff described them as
the top two power forwards in the draft," coach Mike Keenan says
of Horton and Stewart. "Both have a chance to make our team next
Most scouts say Stewart needs more of a mean streak, though
Horton might not agree: Stewart broke Horton's jaw when they
fought during a game last October. The two players, who were
friends before the incident and share the same agent, say there
are no hard feelings. "I had to protect myself," says Stewart.
"When I fight, I don't fight to lose. I've come pretty far from
where I've been, and I'm trying to go even farther than that."
COLOR PHOTO: DAVE CHIDLEY/LONDON FREE PRESS/CP The Panthers traded up to get Stewart (far left), hoping thathe'll provide needed grit.