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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Draft Stuff

Here is the article that Dispatch put out on the Draft.

Lots of fans, festivities expected for big event
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:50 AM
By Aaron Portzline

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

The Blue Jackets own the No. 7 pick in the NHL entry draft, but they're already on the clock.

It's exactly one month until the hockey world gathers in Columbus to welcome the next wave of talent into the NHL. The first round will be held at

7 p.m. June 22 in Nationwide Arena; rounds two through seven will begin at 10 a.m. the following day.

"We're almost ready for the party," said J.D. Kershaw, the Blue Jackets' director of fan development and the point man to the NHL since the draft was awarded to the Blue Jackets more than a year ago.

Here's what's known about "the party" at this point:

• The pop punk band Yellowcard will perform in the plaza in front of Nationwide Arena in the hours leading up to the first pick on Friday.

• It's going to be a big party on Friday. Kershaw isn't sure how big, but he's hoping it's "standing room-only" inside the arena, with a large contingent outside. The Blue Jackets had 12,000-plus requests for tickets through their Web site, and another roughly 11,500 were given to season-ticket holders. The biggest "south of the border" draft crowd in recent memory was 11,000 in Raleigh, N.C., in 2004.

• The plaza in front of Nationwide on Friday will be packed with food and beverage stands, interactive games, etc. Nationwide Boulevard between Front Street and Marconi Boulevard will be blocked to allow spill-over and easy foot traffic.

• The Blue Jackets have yet to decide whether they want to air live draft coverage by TSN or Versus on the huge TV screen that looms over the plaza. The dilemma: If people get too comfortable on the plaza and know they can watch the draft outside, why go inside? The Jackets want the building packed so it looks good on TV.

• Nationwide Arena will open at 4 p.m., with a Hall of Fame Trophy display -- including the Stanley Cup -- and a memorabilia exhibit on the concourse. Season ticket-holders can begin taking their seats at 5:30 p.m., and the general public can fill in around 6:15 p.m. The covered ice surface will be filled with the stage on one end, draft tables for all 30 clubs in the middle, and the media riser on the other end.

"Unless the fire marshal steps in, we won't turn anybody away, even if they don't have a ticket," NHL director of events and entertainment Bill Miller said. "The sense I'm getting is we'll continue the trend of doing well in newer markets, similar to Nashville (2003) and Raleigh, N.C. The key is getting those people who stuffed their tickets into a drawer to dig them out and come on down."

The Blue Jackets are resigned to the fact that the Saturday crowd will be smaller.

"Probably in the 4,000 to 5,000 range if we're lucky," Kershaw said. "Most of our budget is going into Friday."

But the Blue Jackets will have autograph sessions on Saturday morning -- both with draft picks and current Jackets players -- to entice fans.

"And we have two picks in the second round," Kershaw said. "If you're a Blue Jackets fan, that might be kind of interesting."


Link to the Article

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Is it bad that I giggle like a schoolgirl at the thought that the collective NHL braintrust and the Gay Pride Parade will be sharing downtown Columbus on that Saturday?

I need to remember to go pick up my draft tickets tomorrow when I'm downtown for a meeting...