What an incredible day. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so tired and wired at the same time. Day One of the NHL Draft is in the books, and the Blackhawks came away with Connor Bedard and Oliver Moore. It was a dream outcome, and the team has nine more picks to play with tomorrow. Time for Day Three of my NHL Draft Diary.
10:00 am | You Took Me By Surprise
We had very little notice, but Blackhawks CEO Danny Wirtz and President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner stopped by our AirBNB on Thursday morning.
We had limited time with the duo but covered myriad topics. Be sure to check out the interview below or on your favorite podcast app.
12:00 pm | Feels Like Home
Even though were in Nashville, we were craving a taste of home. Our Social Media Coordinator Kacy Standohar found us the 312 Pizza Company in Germantown, and it did NOT disappoint. Deep dish, tavern style, Chicago dogs, beefs, fries…all of it was incredible. Greg Boysen even said, “If this place was in my neighborhood, it would be my go-to beef sandwich.”
4:00 pm | Tonight’s the Night
At long last, it was time to head to the Bridgestone Arena for the NHL Draft. It was the first time covering the draft, so we wanted to get there early to get the lay of the land, but first, we needed to hit up the official Blackhawks Draft Party in Nashville.
The Hawks, seemingly very intentionally, posted up right in sight of Bridgestone. They were impossible to miss if you were in the area, and the petty Predators responded via their mascot Gnash’s Twitter account.
It’s good to see the Blackhawks are still living rent-free in the minds of the Predators and their fans.
5:00 pm | There You Are
We finally got into the Bridgestone Arena, and the atmosphere was electric. It didn’t take long for Connor Bedard to make his first appearance.
It was my first time seeing Bedard in person, and two things struck me. One, he’s a child. I think we lose sight of how young these dudes are. Two, he’s poised, polished, and mature beyond his years. The pressure never gets to him, on or off the ice.
6:15 pm | Stand By Your Man
Kyle Davidson stepped to the podium and didn’t overthink it (like the Anaheim Ducks did). “With the first overall selection in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks are very proud to select, from the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, Connor Bedard.”
The moment we’ve all been waiting for since CHGO’s inception in March of 2022 was finally real. The celebration was on in Nashville, in Chicago, and all over Blackhawks Nation.
7:15 pm | The Man Comes Around
After a whirlwind media tour after being selected, Bedard finally headed down to the press conference area and met the media. As he has been every time he’s spoken, he was impressive and confident.
Bedard talked about how he plans on living up to the massive expectations that come with being the number one overall pick.
Bedard also discussed his memories of the Hawks dynasty run of the 2010s.
I can’t wait to start covering this kid full-time. Drop the puck on the season already.
8:20 pm | Speed
Oh yeah. The Blackhawks have another pick.
As we were watching the draft unfold as we were preparing video pieces for social and the post-draft show, it was becoming apparent that the Blackhawks were going to get a very good player at 19. Several teams, especially our friends in Arizona, made some massive leaps with their picks. Meanwhile, a couple of prospects the Hawks really liked kept slipping. When the 19th pick came up, both Oliver Moore and Gabe Perreault were available. Davidson ended up selecting Moore, who is hands down the best skater in the draft.
Later, we got the chance to talk to Moore, who seems like he’ll be great to cover. The kid seemed thrilled to be chosen by the Blackhawks, and after discussing his skill set, talked about how excited he was to play with Bedard and Frank Nazar.
Blackhawks Director of Amateur Scouting, Mike Doneghey, spoke to the media once the draft began to wrap up. He mentioned how shocked he was that Moore fell to 19.
Davidson also mentioned that he spent all of the first round making calls, looking to trade up to draft Moore. When that didn’t happen, he was thrilled to get him at 19.
Thursday, the Blackhawks have nine more picks, and while there were no trades at all during round one, there’s a belief that day two will have much more action.
Whatever happens, we’ll be all over it, just like we were on Wednesday. CHGO is the ONLY place you need to be for Blackhawks draft coverage. Round two begins at 10 am.