Fan Lookback: Experiencing the NHL Draft in Montreal

The 2022 Rocket Sports Media NHL Draft ticket winners get ready for Round 1!

Fan Post | NHL, Entry Draft, Montreal Canadiens, Juraj Slafkovsky, Shane Wright, Kirby Dach, Habs, Rocket Sports Media

The 2022 Rocket Sports Media NHL Draft ticket winners get ready for Round 1!

ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA — Since 2009, Rocket Sports Media has partnered with the NHL to bring hockey fans together for a unique experience at the Entry Draft to witness first-hand the selection of a new generation of potential hockey stars.

An Annual Fan Event

Over the years, our ticket winners have come from all over Canada and the United States and traveled to places like Philadelphia, Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago, Dallas, and Vancouver for this tradition, but this year marked a return of the NHL Draft – and a Rocket Sports fan event – to Montreal.
Adding to the excitement was the rare occasion that the host city also held the first-overall draft pick, which gave the Canadiens organization a chance to make an historic selection in front of a building full of their own fans.
With the somewhat surprising selection of Juraj Slafkovsky over long-time favorite Shane Wright, followed by the trade of Alexander Romanov and acquisition of Kirby Dach, the 2022 NHL Draft started off with a bang and continued to bring plenty of drama and surprises.
Our Rocket Sports team members, guests, and ticket winners in attendance have told us many times that this year was definitely one for the record books and memory collection. Many of them have taken the opportunity to jot down their thoughts and feelings on the event (including some brushes with fame!) and we invite you to read portions of their stories below. Enjoy!
Jeff Gallant
We had great time at the draft and in Montreal-such a fun city. It was an added bonus that the Jazz Fest was on! My favourite memory was being outside the Bell Centre with Randy [Gallant] the afternoon before the first round. We spotted an older couple trying to take a selfie with the bust of the Rocket. They didn’t look pleased with the result, so Randy offered to take one for them, and they were very happy with the result.
Seeing us in our Habs gear, the couple then asked us who we wanted to see the Habs pick. We said Shane Wright of course! They seemed very pleased, and then told us they were Shane’s grandparents. We wished them the best of luck and that we were sure the Habs would make the pick…would have been an even better story if they had.
The most surprising event, the actual first-overall pick, I knew that it was certainly a possibility after all the Canadiens Connection podcast, but still I was surprised. The trade announced shortly after that was also a stunner; hopefully that one works out. Good thing we have a lot of excellent prospects in the defence pipeline!
As to Rocket Sports, I really enjoy listening to The Press Zone podcast, as well as Canadiens Connection. I recently also started watching some of the YouTube channel content; it’s great as well. Looking forward to future episodes and future drafts!

Michael Spinella

My favourite memory of draft weekend was the atmosphere at the Bell Centre leading up to the first-overall pick. There was so much energy in the building, unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced!
Fans waiting outside the Bell Centre before Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft | Photo by Michael Spinella, Rocket Sports Media
This was a special experience for me because this was the first time I’ve been to the Bell Centre, the first time I’ve been to the first round of an NHL Draft, and first time I’ve met many of my Rocket Sports colleagues.

The most surprising part of the draft weekend was when Montreal not only traded Romanov for a first round pick, but they flipped out that pick and acquired Dach. That had to be the biggest surprise of the weekend.

Sam Gerber

This was my first time in Montreal, so of course this was a very special moment in my life that I will remember forever. I have been a diehard Habs fan since I was five, and grew up in Southern Ontario where being a Habs fan is as popular as a Canadian that doesn’t like maple syrup.
Being that it was my first time in Montreal, and I got to go to one of the biggest off-season events in the NHL, there was a lot of buzz in the air. After all, it was the first live draft since the pandemic!
What surprised me the most was being able to casually bump into newly-drafted players, NHL personnel, and members of the media, like Brian Burke & John Lu…everyone I met was very kind, very passionate and you could tell they had a love for hockey.

Mike Raschle

My favourite memory has to be witnessing all the fan excitement and anticipation from our walk from the hotel to the Bell Centre. Montreal was abuzz, and it was impossible to ignore. This experience was so special for me because I got to have my best buddies by my side while we witnessed Habs history in the making.
The incredible timing of the Dach trade was the perfect suspense, almost like a Hollywood script! I wanted Wright at number one, and had made that very clear for a good two years. It was disappointing when he didn’t go to the Habs, but the timing to announce the trades with the Islanders and Blackhawks that led to Dach becoming a Canadien was pure gold. Many of us thought maybe the Habs found a way to secure the fourth-overall pick with Wright still available!
What also made this experience special was meeting fellow Rocket Sports contributors in person for the first time, and witnessing how quickly a couple of strangers can become friends all through the love of the game of hockey. We had such a great time…exploring Montreal together all weekend. The hockey and life conversations took over very quickly, and as the libations picked up so did the friendly banter.

Chris G.

It was great to see the team members again and meet some of our guests. My favourite memory was watching the top prospects and executives get off the bus onto the red carpet event before the start of round one.
The most surprising part of the Draft was the fifteen-minute period between the Canadiens drafting Slafkovsky and trading Romanov. I was not expecting any of those moves!
By Amy Johnson, Lead Correspondent
Copyright © 2022 Rocket Sports