I can’t work in the media workroom – there’s no space available. So, I’m sitting in a waiting area near the guest elevators, lounging on a comfy couch and smiling at everyone who walks by while I type. The sightseeing’s been a bit interesting so far. As Steve Yzerman walked across the open area toward the elevators, he spotted my credentials and smiled. What could I do but smile back?
LA is crazy right now and it seems that this sprawling plaza that surrounds Staples Center is “Ground Zero” for a number of events, including the NHL Draft and a star-studded, red-carpet premiere of the final “Twilight” movie. As I wandered from the Marriott Hotel and around a maze of barricades toward the Staples Center, I passed hundreds of “Twilight” fans already lined up to catch a glimpse of their favorite star (Team Edward or Team Jacob, anyone?). The NHL folks set up a little construction trailer outside one of the entrances to SC. It’s a pretty unassuming little set-up, until you see the big blue sign that reads, “Credentials,” and two doors. One door reads “Enter.” The other says “Exit.” Pretty self-explanatory. I climbed the steps, pulled open the “Enter” door and came face to face with Mark Fischel, who helped me navigate the credential process and told me very nicely that my photographer request had been denied because the “photog” in question was not affiliated with a major newspaper or a photo agency, like Getty Images. Made sense.
Mark and I shook hands and he handed over a nice, big plastic credential with my picture grinning out at me, and a nice NHL Draft lanyard to which I could affix it and hang it around my neck, thus labeling me to anyone passing by that I am a member of the MEDIA, in town to cover the NHL DRAFT. Talk about feeling official. Newly credentialed, I made my way back to the Marriott and the overcrowded media workroom, where I chatted with John Fontana from Raw Charge for a few minutes, looked for a place to plug in my dead laptop (it died midflight), then decided to go somewhere else to write as I could not find anywhere to plug in. Which brought be to the lounge-type area between the meeting rooms and the guest elevators and my smile exchange with Mr. Stevie Y. He looks tan, fit and thinner than he does on TV (Yes, the camera DOES add weight!). I don’t know if he was surprised to see a woman of my age (40-something) and build (NOT a skinny-minnie) with an NHL Draft credential and a laptop. If he was, he didn’t show it. The smile he bestowed as he strode by was kind, and knowing (as in, he knows that I know who he is).
So, here I sit. As of this writing, it’s 4:20pm and I’m tired and hungry, but not as sweaty as I was after that hike to SC to get my creds. A cool, air conditioned breeze is wafting through and I’m quite comfy on this couch, watching people walk by.
John texted me that they’re closing up the media workroom so I rushed over to grab my bag, then decided to continue writing down in the lobby. Talk about sightseeing! Hockey prospects, women dressed to the nines, waiting to walk the red carpet at the “Twilight” premiere and a host of conventioneers (there seem to be a couple taking place at the hotel). As I sat, trading texts with friends and people watching, Stevie Y moseyed into the lobby. While he was chatting with two enthralled young men, he glanced over, spotted me and waved. I’m sorry, folks, but you can’t fake that kind of attentive kindness. This man is the real deal.
I chatted with two glittery women who were waiting for a guy to show up with their red carpet tickets (tickets to walk the red carpet? Now I’ve heard everything!) I asked them if they followed hockey at all. They both shook their heads, then one piped up, “My husband loves hockey. He’s a Buffalo Sabres fan.” I pointed over at Stevie Y and said, “That’s a hockey legend over there.” She looked over, then asked, “Is that Wayne Gretzky?”
I explained who Stevie Y was, and she nodded enthusiastically but I could tell she couldn’t care less. The guy with the red carpet tickets showed up and they wandered off to get in place. Not long after that, top prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin appeared in the lobby, dressed in suits. They joined Stevie Y and someone told me they were going to the premiere as well. I’m sure they didn’t need tickets to walk the red carpet, though.
My sightseeing venture ended when my friend Justine arrived to ferry me to her lovely home in Brentwood. Tomorrow, the real excitement begins. My first NHL draft. I really hope our local guys: Calvin Pickard, Kent Simpson, Radko Gudas and Alex Theriau go quickly—and to awesome teams. Well, whoever gets those guys will be awesome just by virtue of drafting them, but I guess that’s my homerism talking.
Good luck to all the prospects.