Rookies Run the Gauntlet at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft
The life of a hockey prospect isn't all fun and games. Draft Day is a nerve racking experience filled with the tedious and anxious anticipation of hearing their names called by prospective NHL teams.
The days leading up to the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, which took place this past weekend, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, is filled with events, receptions, meetings, and interviews. For the majority of these kids, and they really are kids, the experience is a whirlwind of activity. Fortunately for them, scrutiny is nothing new. They have been poked, prodded, evaluated, tested, and challenged many times just to get to this next stage in their budding careers.
The process, once there name has been called is when everything really becomes a blur for these gifted skatesmen. After taking the main stage on the event floor with their new respective team's front office personnel and shaking hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the draftee is greeted by a further flurry of activity. They don their team jersey and cap, pose for photographs and are ushered offstage with an NHL chaperone. They are then introduced to the broadcast media.
A brief, televised interview ensues where they are introduced to the world, thanking family and friends. Then, just as quickly, they are once again ushered away, this time, to the arena's media interview room. There, they take the podium in front of more than a dozen other media outlets. The draftee then takes questions until the media is satisfied withe their responses. This aspect alone, can be a long and arduous process, particularly for highly touted players like Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall selection by the Colorado Avalanche.
It can also be a little uncomfortable for players whose stock slipped a bit unexpectedly. Such was the case for Seth Jones, son of NBA star, Popeye Jones. Jones was projected as a first or second pick who dropped to number four. In addition to answering the typical questions of what the experience was like, Jones was forced to answer questions from critics.
The next step is where collectors reap the rewards of a talented rookie class. In the span of about 10 minutes, the draftee exits from the media interview room and meets with representatives from both Panini and Upper Deck. A photographer quickly puts them through a series of poses, their event-worn material is tagged, bagged and cataloged. They are also asked to sign various pieces, some of which will end up in trading card products. Others will be used for promotions and customer giveaways.
By this point, most of them display that "deer in a headlights" look glazed across their face. Finally, these young athletes are allowed to return to the waiting embraces of friends and family. It may be the end of one day's crazy journey, but it's hopefully the beginning of something much bigger.
Be sure to listen to all three radio segments recorded LIVE at the draft!
A Behind the Scenes Look at the Panini and Upper Deck War Rooms
For video taken with each draft pick, LIVE, at the podium, visit the Cardboard Connection Radio YouTube channel.