Rich Sutter, the father of Saskatoon Blades forward Lukas Sutter, took in Wednesday's game. He popped into the Rockets dressing room where I was able to shake his hand and ask him about the experience of watching his son. "It is a whole lost easier being a player than sitting up in the stands watching your kid".
The biggest disappointment at the Prospects Game was Mikhail Grigorenko. The suggested second overall pick in this summers draft lacked motivation in a game against his peers. I was looking for some lightning speed or puck handling ability and saw neither, but again it was only one game.
Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton was hoping the game would be intense and he got just that. Two fights in the game showed this wasn't some ordinary all-star game. What he didn't get was a sold out crowd. Just over five thousand fans took in the game, but it would be interesting to know how many received a complimentary ticket.
I can't say I know Don Hay well, but I sure admire the man. The Vancouver Giants head coach had a few laughs with Ryan Huska after the game and I had the privilege of being in the middle of the verbal exchange. An intense man when it comes to the competitive side of the game, Hay doesn't have to hide on the persona that he is a tough nosed coach who won't allow the "real person' to shine through. I am impressed every time I meet him.
If you were at the game last night you noticed Sportsnet using a cameraman on skates taking close shots of the players during stoppages in play. These too close for comfort shots were mainly taken when coming back from a commercial break. I am sure it was a treat for the TV audience, but when is it too much? The players are mic'd up, we see them in the dressing room gearing up and now this. I couldn't believe it when a fight broke out and the cameraman on skates wheels out there and attempts to get a closer look for the TV viewing audience. I thought he was going to get a penalty for being the third man in.
A suggestion. Scrap the skills competition. The fan interest isn't there and I think the overall event would benefit from keeping it to just two full days, for the sake of the players, rather than three. Let the players fly in a day in advance for a pre-game skate and then play the game the next evening.
The Top Prospects festivities went off without a hitch. If their was a hiccup, I didn't notice it. The media are treated first rate at this event and player accessibility is nothing short of outstanding. I find the CHL brass go out of their way in helping the media find the player they are looking for.
They need to be commended for what they do.
I always make a point of shaking hands with out of town media and introduce myself as a way of welcoming them to Kelowna. I know if I was in a similar situation, I too would want the same courtesy. Plus, you get to meet some great people. You find the odd ego floating around, but my general sense is it isn't as prevalent in today's media circles. The old adage is treat people like you would like to be treated. It works for me.