NHL Draft Experience

About a month ago, a friend and I attended the NHL Draft in Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center (home of the New Jersey Devils). I have now been to the NFL and NHL Drafts, and I can say that one must go to a draft to experience it, at least once. Let’s first touch on the Prudential Center, a super nice venue, placed in one of the worst cities in America. Good idea gone bad by the Devils ownership!

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Next, let’s touch on the draft and how it is handled by the NHL. The Draft is seven rounds and used to be held over two days, but this year was changed to a one day format starting at 3 PM with an estimated finish time of 10:30 PM … yeah right!!!! This is the mistake the NFL made originally by having the first and second rounds on the same day. Why fix what wasn’t broken? That’s a mere hour per round and, yes it began to pick up in the third round, but it was already 8 PM by the time the third round was basically over and you can bet your ass we weren’t staying. The NHL have the “war” tables set up right in front of the stage. These tables are massive with about 30 people sitting around them including the general managers from each club. Throughout the first round, as each pick is made, about ten of these individuals walk up on stage with their teams jersey and announce the name of the selected player, handing out hugs and handshakes galore. Then come the photo-ops and each player walks to his new team’s table to give gratitude to each individual and heads off for television interviews. All in all its a nice process for the young men who lives have just changed immensely. However, the two day idea should be reinstated next year.

A couple of other aspects I like is the Fan Fest they had outside this year. It makes it more interesting for the fans and more entertaining with the games, shops and the Food Trucks (the prices should definitely be lowered), but all in all it’s good for the kids. Another cool thing I saw happening often was the amount of interaction between the players and the fans. For example, Seth Jones (projected No. 1 pick) was surrounded by fans and was happy to take pictures and sign programs. Something I have mixed feelings on is the movement of the draft each year, I think it’s a great idea, but some of success of the NBA and NFL drafts can definitely be attributed to it’s location on the main stage that is New York City. Last year’s draft was in Pittsburgh and next year will be Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center. I think time will tell how this will fare, but to conclude I think the NHL needs to go back to two days to keep the fans from getting too bored and the duration of the draft from getting obnoxious.

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I’ll link everyone to the draft results instead of boring you with who’s who and who your team drafted!

http://www.nhl.com/ice/draftsearch.htm?year=2013&team=&position=&round=1

Those are my two cents … cash them in!

-Anthony

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