As told to: Joe PackIn ’91, my dad and I drove to Buffalo for what was to be the Lindros draft. I had just the one meeting set up with the Vancouver Canucks. I walk in not knowing what to expect and I sit down with Pat Quinn, Brian Burke, and Mike Penny and I’m by far the smallest guy there. Quinn might have had a cigar in his mouth. These days they go into more depth with draft picks but I think they just wanted to meet me and make sure I wasn’t an asshole.
I think they just wanted to meet me and make sure I wasn’t an asshole.
Coming from Dryden, Ontario, we didn’t know anyone who’d been to the draft. My dad and I, we used to say, were pioneers. He’s stoic to begin with but that was when his hearing was starting go, so there wasn’t a lot of talking on the way down. We weren’t putting things in perspective, we were more like, “Holy shit, we’re really doing this? Where are we? Never seen that before!” He was probably thinking “What do I tell this kid if he doesn’t get picked?”
When Lindros was selected, it was like the draft had ended. He walked on stage, didn’t put the jersey on, and walked off to get pictures taken as the entire media circus followed him. We all waited 20 minutes for everyone to return and then finally Pat Falloon got drafted second. Vancouver was picking seventh and I knew there was no way on Earth, but I thought “What if they just take a flyer on me?” I let myself get my hopes up for just a moment but obviously they took Alex Stojanov.
In the second round I’m thinking, “They’ve been known to take on a project,” but they chose Jassen Cullimore. The third round comes and my dad says, “I think you’re going to go next.” Sure enough, they called my name, but I didn’t know how to get down to the floor. Steve Tambellini, their public relations guy, was looking around for me and I’m stuck behind a security guard who’s saying that I’m not on any list. “My name just got called!” I said to him. By the time I got down, it had been half an hour and Tambellini was like, “Dude, where were you?” I worked so hard to get drafted and I couldn’t even reach the floor in time. But being drafted was such a cool experience and then at least I knew which mountain to climb.
One of the scouts said to me, “That’s alright, you’ve earned your one beer.” I was like, “Dude, I’m gonna have more than one tonight.”
After the picks were done, all the players got together in a room for some drinks. It didn’t even dawn on me to be aware of my surroundings but I grabbed a Coors Light. I had just finished my first year of college, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I look around and Cullimore’s drinking a soda, Stojanov’s drinking a soda, and one of the scouts said to me, “That’s alright, you’ve earned your one beer.” I was like, “Dude, I’m gonna have more than one tonight.”
JOE PACK is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a rec-league rent-a-goalie.
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