My first assignment was to take #13 Brandon Gormley's family to the reception area. There were 19 of them there, all in from Prince Edward Island! It was doubly exciting for them because Brandon's friend Jaden Schwartz was picked immediately after, at #14.
I was a "draft guide" for the NHL Draft today (and will do the same thing tomorrow, Saturday). This means that I was assigned a draft pick (or his family)--after that pick # was announced, my job was to (1) take the family to the club/reception where they would meet their family member, of (2) take the draftee around to interviews, autographs, photo shoots, etc., and then bring him to meet his family.
A friend of mine was assigned pick #23 -- Buffalo!! So I convinced her to switch with me. Thus, I was assigned to Mark Pysyk! Very nice kid, a bit shell-shocked (understandably). The team gave Mark a duffel bag and a draft hat, which I carried around while Mark gave radio and television interviews. Sabres Director of PR (Michael Gilbert) brought Mark over to the team's table, where Mark got to meet the 15-20 people who were there, including of course Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff. I made small talk with Gilbert as he made sure Mark hit the right tv/radio media before y'all went to sleep back East. As Gilbert and I waited for Mark to complete an interview with Buffalo radio station, someone came up to Gilbert and congratulated the Sabres on a great pick!
Then Gilbert split off, giving Mark 20 tickets to the Sabres' private box for him and his family (I'm sure there was an extra! No one would've noticed if it was missing--and in fact, it ended up that the family beat us to the private box anyway--but I'm sure I would've stuck out like a sore thumb in my draft volunteer garb!) Anyway, I dragged Mark around to his photo shoots (they were still using the Buffaslug uni!!) and autograph sessions, and an interview with NHL Studios. Luc Robataille was in the Studios, waiting for an interview right before Mark, so he congratulated Mark and made small talk. Amazing to be in the presence of such a legend.
As I dragged Mark around from place to place, we chit chatted a little. I told him I was a huge Sabres fan and originally from Western NY, though I've lived in LA for 15 years. He said that he and his family would be going to Disneyland tomorrow. He's from Edmonton, and there were a ton of Oilers fans there, many of them knowing Mark, congratulating him, and asking for autographs when they had the opportunity. It seemed like Mark was a little overwhelmed -- and that definitely came across in his interviews, if you saw any of them!
The post-draft experience was probably exhausting for Mark (not to mention the 4-hour wait to be picked), but I managed to have someone snap a photo before I dropped him off for good with the Sabres contingent and his family. (This is supposedly a big no-no for volunteers....so sue me!)
Thrilling experience to volunteer for the draft, but getting to guide Mark was a HUGE plus.
Y'all can find pictures on Flickr (assuming I did it right):