This is my first time attending an NHL Entry Draft. Although I’ve never experienced the draft in person, I’ve watched countless drafts on television, and there are certain things I’ve come to expect to see. Here’s the Lighthouse guide for what to expect to see on draft day.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher called the interworking on draft day between NHL general managers a “cat and mouse game.” First, GM’s send out feeler calls to see if another club is looking to move up or down in the draft order. They don’t want to reveal their hand to other clubs, but they prod for information like a newspaper beat reporter on a hunch. I’ve never had a chance to sit in on a GM meeting, but I’d like to imagine it’s similar to the scene from The Godfather when Sollozzo propositions the Corleone Family: “Never tell anyone outside of the family what you’re thinking again.” If history tells us anything, there will be a trade today. Will involve the Wild? That, I don’t know, but it will have to be an offer Chuck Fletcher can’t refuse.
The NHL Draft is similar to the NBA and NFL drafts, but different in so many ways. The most noticeable difference, visually, will be the players’ clothing choices. While football and basketball players often wear loud and colorful suits at their drafts, you can bet the majority of the hockey players drafted in the first round will wear either black or gray suits. The happiest day of a prospect’s budding career and it will look as though he’s attending a funeral.
Almost every prospect we spoke with yesterday mentioned how excited they were about having their family with them to share this moment. Watch how many hugs each player receives from family members on their way to the podium.
You’ll see a ton of love between the players and their families, but what you won’t see are bro-hugs between the player and members of the organization that selects him. For a sport that celebrates the bro-hug so frequently on the ice (cue Harrison Mooney’s Hockey Hugs column), draft day seems to have a strict, firm-handshake policy.
Decked out in their gear, a lot of these prospects look menacing on the ice. Off it, they look like fresh-faced high school seniors…because most of them are. When following professional sports, it’s easy to forget how young some of these guys are, and, in hockey, players are drafted at 18 years young. Members of this draft class were born in 1993 or 1994. Other notable things that happened in 1993-94: Bill Clinton was in his first term as U.S. President; Jurassic Park was exciting children about the prospect of cloning dinosaurs; O.J. Simpson singlehandedly devastated the resale value of white Ford Broncos; Tonya Harding went coocoo bananas and hired thugs to take out Nancy Kerrigan’s knee; and Kurt Cobain willingly joined the 27 Club. It was a heck of a time to be alive.