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Monday Mailbag: The NHL Draft Experience

After being asked about what it is like at the NHL Draft I figured I would kick of my Monday Mailbag with a Draft edition as I have been getting questions about what it was like going to Philadelphia, what does the draft look like behind the scenes and the quirky oddness that comes when you get a bunch of media members together and stories no one will believe possible happen.

Welcome to my look at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

All images are my own unless otherwise noted (or embeded Tweets).

After being asked about what it is like at the NHL Draft I figured I would kick of my Monday Mailbag with a Draft edition as I have been getting questions about what it was like going to Philadelphia, what does the draft look like behind the scenes and the quirky oddness that comes when you get a bunch of media members together and stories no one will believe possible happen.
Welcome to my look at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

It was still open.

After that was hotel check in and heading out to the Marek and Wyshynski meet up downtown. Seeing the other media members I haven’t seen since the Winter Classic, meeting those I had not met before and of course some hockey fans that were in town for the draft.  The night had bad nachos and loud music and witnessing a fight (more verbal than anything) in the streets that even included a mime jumping out of a car all before heading back to the hotel only to find out when your hotel is inside of the Navy Yard you can’t do the route you did earlier that day to get to it as they gate off the roads and you have to go through the main gate with the security guards. Would have been nice for the hotel to mention that at check in.

Friday morning.  The morning before Round One would be the calm before the storm which still included leaving the hotel by 9 a.m.  Playing tourist a small group of us from the same hotel hopped the shuttle from the Navy Yard to Center City and played tourist.  Checking out the Liberty Bell and walking around taking pictures before heading to the official NHL media hotel to have lunch and get questioned by Nick Cotsonika and Patrick Burke about my broken finger. Yup. In a splint over draft weekend.

After lunch we hit up the Reading Terminal Market and started to regret having already ate with all the choices they had there. I did grab a smoothie after looking for an ATM as Philly is very cash focused and I tend to not carry cash on me. I highly recommended checking it out if you are ever in town. Then it was time to head back to catch the shuttle back to the hotel in the Navy Yard to get to Wells Fargo Center.

When you watch the Draft on tv you do not get the full effect of the hometown crowd of fans in that are seated in the bowls.  I did watch some of the first round on tv since I have been home and the booing of the fans was nowhere near the deafening levels it was in the arena that night.  The booing was so loud at times it was hard to hear what was going on on stage from my seat in the lower bowl (section 104 to be exact).

The booing was loud throughout the first round but the fans really let everyone know that we were in Philadelphia during the roll call before the first round started. As each team was called the fans in unison would shout “sucks”. Yup. We were in Philly.

The arena is divided up into different areas.  In the bowl seats there are sections for the players entering the draft and their family members. There is seating for the fans that were lucky enough to snag tickets to the event. In four sections there were two rows of media tables set up with power strips – that is where the above picture came from.  My seat in section 104.

The draft floor is what you see when watching on tv. The stage is set up in the front with the first on-air interview for the players’ right after they are drafted and then the tables for each of the 30 NHL teams.  There is some empty space and then a barrier set up where behind that is more media space.  The floor media space includes on the side rows for the radio media and towards the back corner NHL Radio on Sirus XM has an area where they are broadcasting the draft and interviewing players on the fly.

At the back of the media area on two scaffoldings you have the on air tv crews.  Between the scaffoldings and the previously mentioned barriers is the riser section for the big shot media personalities. Not me.  I was up in section 104 remember.

In the hallways in the depths of the arena (ice level) there is a media work room which is first come first serve with long tables with plugins and hardwire internet.  There is a large screen to view the draft line up and the action on the floor.

You can see the nearly empty set up in the picture of the guys from Puck Daddy taking over and hi jacking the NHL On The Ice show late after the first round when many had already packed up and moved out.

 

Down the hall is an interview room where podiums are set up for the draft picks to come in as they make their media rounds having already been on tv and also many on the radio before they make it back to be asked for the millionth time that night what it is like to be drafted by (insert team name here).

Here are a few images taken from the interview room over the seven rounds of the NHL Draft:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The draft is about new beginnings.  Young players with their sights on playing in the National Hockey League make that huge step towards achieving their dream.  Teams looking to rebuild search for their next super star while legacy teams look to find some more diamonds in the rough in the later rounds.

For these players and teams the future is full of possibilities. Nothing is written in stone for any of them but now is the time to take the moment and own it.

As for those of us in the media.

Teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to keep us on our toes as we await the start of UFA free agency tomorrow. Some of us see one another often some it is once or twice a year.

No matter who you are at the NHL Draft it is a moment that goes by in a blink of an eye.

Be sure to check out 5ivehole hockey as they were a sponsor for my trip to Philadelphia to cover the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and bring you this write up.

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  Tags: monica+mcalister

Comments

SYF's avatar

The booing was so loud at times it was hard to hear what was going on on stage from my seat in the lower bowl (section 104 to be exact).

The booing was loud throughout the first round but the fans really let everyone know that we were in Philadelphia during the roll call before the first round started. As each team was called the fans in unison would shout “sucks”. Yup. We were in Philly.

Hahaha.  Yeah, that’s Philly all right..

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/30/14 at 08:41 PM ET

Iggy_Rules's avatar

Thanks for the behind - the - scenes look at the draft. I never knew the recently drafted were interviewed backstage. That’s neat!

Hope you get the chance to go again next year!

Posted by Iggy_Rules from Calgary, Canada on 06/30/14 at 10:13 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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