How does it feel waiting to hear our name being called in the draft? A new show depicts the journey to that ultimate moment.
Welcome to the NHL tells the story of five players selected in the 2022 draft in Montreal: forward Juraj Slafkovsky, chosen first overall by the Montreal Canadiens, forward Logan Cooley, drafted third overall by the Arizona Coyotes, forward Shane Wright, fourth overall pick by the Seattle Kraken, defenseman Christian Kyrou, selected in the second round (50th) by the Dallas Stars, and defenseman Jérémy Langlois, drafted in the third round (94th) by the Coyotes.
READ ALSO : Behind the scenes with Juraj Slafkovsky
“What we did differently this time was get access to one of the teams to get their thoughts before the draft, in addition to tracking two players who weren’t going to be selected in the top-5,” said explained Senior Director of Content and NHL Senior Vice President Steve Mayer.
“Having Kyrou, who was going to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second round, and another player who wasn’t going to hear his name until the third or fourth round added to the intrigue. So we filmed on the second day of the repechage, which we had never done before. »
The show airs in the United States beginning Friday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+, 5:30 p.m. on the official NHL YouTube channel and 7 p.m. on NHL Network. In Canada, it will be available from Saturday at 2 p.m. on the Sportsnet network. The show will be rebroadcast on NHL Network at 3 a.m., 5 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday, then at 6 p.m. Sunday. Sportsnet will represent the show at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Welcome to the NHL begins in the draft lottery on May 10, which determined the Canadiens would get the first overall pick in this year’s draft. The Devils were able to advance to second place, while the Coyotes earned the third selection. The show continues at the NHL’s Judging Session, which took place May 30-June 4 in Buffalo. The players discussed the physical tests they went through, the tests they weren’t able to participate in (a lower-body injury kept Langlois out of some tests) and their interviews with the various teams.
Slafkovsky was particularly optimistic after his exchanges with the Canadians.
“They didn’t invite me to dinner, but in my opinion, the discussions we had were much better than dinner,” he laughs.
The Coyotes’ scout meetings on June 8 in Reno, Nevada are also part of what viewers will be able to see.
“This is the largest draft in the history of this organization: seven picks in the first two rounds, three in the first round and four in the second round,” said general manager Bill Armstrong. “That’s where we’re going to be able to replenish the pool of prospects and it’s important that everyone in this room understands that we are making a difference. We are here to win a championship. It’s the truth. We don’t draft players just to draft players. We are drafting players who will help us win a championship. »
The show continues on the first day of the draft in Montreal, as the players get ready and spend time with their families at the hotel. As Slafkovsky puts on shoes that are too small for him – “I’m wearing a 48, and these are a size 46, so it’s going to be a long night,” he says – Simon Wright thinks about what to say to his son Shane when he is drafted.
“Honestly, I don’t know yet what I’m going to say then,” Simon said. I’m going to let my emotions take control, and we’ll see what happens. »
The show immortalizes the many emotions experienced by players at the draft: Slafkovsky’s ecstasy when he is selected first, Cooley’s reaction after Slafkovsky’s choice (“It completely changes everything”, he says) and the expectation of Wright, who expected to be the first choice. It continues on day two, when Langlois and Kyrou, the brother of the St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrouwere picked up.
“He is especially looking forward to having his little blue hook on Instagram. It’s one of the best moments here, says Jordan. For me, he was always a little boy. Now he is an adult and I am very happy for him. »