Hockey returns to the news for the next couple of weeks with several important dates.
The NHL Draft (June 22/23rd) is first and foremost, though fans do love the opening of free agency (July 1st), too. But in reality the draft is they key. It will take several years after the fact, but that is the day Stanley Cups are won. Name the last big ticket free agent signing who was a core member of a Stanley Cup champion. It's tough isn't it? But if drafted and developed properly teams are set through the draft.
A curious thing happens on June 19th as the first ever NHL gaming world championships final will be played. Video games are huge business, though I don't totally understand the NHL's direct involvement in it all. It will be interesting to see where this goes over the next number of years.
The NHL awards will go on Wednesday, June 20th. Even with the show again in Vegas, it is a hit-and-miss "spectacle." I tend to just note what happened rather than endure it. But with so many trophies featuring so many worthy candidates, there is more interest this year than others for me.
A big date for me is June 26th when the Hockey Hall of Fames meets to decide the induction class of 2018. Martin Brodeur is a certainty. Martin St. Louis is another strong first year candidate, but I suspect he might be made to wait. That opens the door for someone who has been waiting a while already like Daniel Alfredsson, Alexander Mogilny, and Jeremy Roenick. On the female side Cassie Campbell Pascal and Manon Rheaume are overdue. I wonder if there is any chance they just waive the waiting period for Hayley Wickenheiser?