After the NHL Draft packed up and left town, the Hockey Wilderness crew is left to look back at the weekend that was. All of preparation and writing came down to two days of sitting in a folding chair and watching 18 years olds be selected to make more money than I ever will.
In all seriousness, though, the NHL Draft experience is one that be one of my favorites until I am old and grey. The fabulous time would not have been possible without several hundred people, and we are going to attempt to thank some of them. Hopefully it doesn't feel like too much of an award ceremony with Correy Perry crying and all.
And Kanye? Sit down.
Dan Chan - The Hockey Wilderness prospect expert knocked it out of the park. Thirty prospect posts that taught everyone here at Hockey Wilderness about who these kids were and what they are about. We heard more than once from other media that used the posts to educate themselves as well. Dan did a fantastic job with the prospect posts, and with helping cover the draft it self, even from 1000 miles away.
We couldn't have done this without you, Dan. Great job.
The NHL - This was my first ever NHL hosted event, and it did not disappoint. Everything went off without a hitch (at least from our perspective), everyone was kind and courteous, helpful, and the event itself was worthy of the importance it carries. Thank you to the league for choosing our fair city.
The Minnesota Wild Staff - Everyone we ran into from the Wild was awesome all weekend. The PR team did a great job not only making sure the local media knew what was happening, but I am more than certain did a ton of work to make sure this thing worked. Amazing job by everyone with the Wild. I hope you all get to take a week off and sleep. You know, before free agency start up and you have to work all day again.
The Fine CITY of SAINT PAUL - Despite the fact that NHL GMs couldn't quite grasp that they were not in Minneapolis, and that Minnesota is not a city, the people who matter knew where we were. Saint Paul was an amazing host with bars and restaurants staffed to the T, libation and food at every turn (especially at Bennett's Chop And Railhouse), and beautiful views everywhere you look. Some times, when you live here, you start to take the city for granted, but this weekend we got to see it from the eyes of a visitor, and it was magnificent.
Everyone We Met Along the Way - There were so many people we got to meet in person this weekend it is a bit ridiculous. Readers of Hockey Wilderness, other media, Twitter friends, Saint Paul business owners, the people who live and work in Saint Paul... so many people.
It was great to finally meet people like Joe Yerdon (NBC ProHockeyTalk), Greg Wyshynski (THE Puck Daddy), Sean Leahy (Also from Puck Daddy), Buddy Oakes (Preds on the Glass), Bob Wage (Canes Country), Dominick Jaskin (Light House Hockey), Lisa McRitchie (The Copper & Blue), Nathan Wells (First Round Bust), Dan Schrader (First Round Bust), Jen Conway, Sarah Connors (Now of Stanley Cup of Chowder), Julie Veilleux... And this is where I forget people.
The guys at Hockey This Week, who had us on their podcast last night at Eagle Street Cafe. That was just flat out fun. Mike Carver, Paul Cuthbert, Sean Cuthbert, and Tony... you guys were great. Welcome back to Saint Paul any time.
To the fine people at Summit Brewing for helping sponsor our event last night.
To the fine people at Schell's for making enough beer to keep the CITY of SAINT PAUL (well, at least me) well lubricated throughout the weekend.
To Nathan - the big boss, for paying our way through the weekend. It is a pleasure doing business with you, good sir.
The Walk Off Music is Playing
I can hear that bad music playing telling me that no one has read this far down, and I should get off the stage. If anyone is still reading, make sure you give Dan some props for his coverage. It really was second to none. Also be sure to frequent the bars and eateries around and near the Xcel Energy Center. They rely on your business to stay in business, and they are all great people. Especially the folks at Bennett's. It worth the three minute drive... or they will come and get you.
Thanks to everyone involved in pulling this weekend off, from planning to execution. Amazing stuff. Can't wait for the next time the draft is in town in 2033.