Drafted By Tampa Bay
Salvador took to the ice with the Brandon Kings of the Manitoba Hockey Association in 1991, at the age of 15, and the following year he won a defenseman slot with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of Canada's Western Hockey League (WHL). He was a team fixture from the start, playing in 64 games in the 1991-92 season and 61 the following year, when the Hurricanes won the WHL title. That got the attention of scouts from the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, which picked Salvador in the sixth round of the 1994 draft.
That promising beginning to Salvador's NHL career went nowhere, however, as he waited for two years for a summons to the Lightning or one of their minor-league teams. "I still don't know why they weren't interested," Salvador was quoted as saying on the St. Louis Blues Web site. "They had a lot of problems at the time. Maybe they just forgot." Whatever the reason, Salvador spent some time weighing his options. Prestigious McGill University in Montreal was impressed with Salvador's academic and musical accomplishments and wooed him as a student, suggesting that he consider a switch from hockey to football. Salvador also thought about giving up hockey and going into computer science.
Instead, he stuck with the game. He continued to play for Lethbridge, and his game began to solidify. Salvador won Canada's Scholastic Player of the Year award in 1996 and was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Blues in December of that year. "I watched him stick up for his teammates one night playing for Lethbridge and I liked him right away," Blues scouting director Bob Plager was quoted as saying on the team's Web site. "He was tough in front of his own end and I liked his work ethic."
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