Well, here is the first of my weekly Wednesday blog postings. Unfortunately my NHL Year in Review is not yet completed so that will have to wait until next week. Until then I thought I would let you know about my trip to Las Vegas for the NHL Awards Show.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman takes a lot of criticism for the way he runs the league, and much of it is deserved, but this time he has earned some kudos. While I am still not thrilled with the way the league promotes the Award Show the event itself is shaping up to be a classic.
Las Vegas is a great city to host something that is supposed to be a fun and celebratory look back at the year that was. There are so many things for the players, fans, media and team staff to do while they are here and there are also a lot of opportunities for fans to interact with their favorite players. In the short time I spent walking around theÂ Palms Casino I saw Globe & Mail reporter Eric Duhatschek, CBC analyst/formerÂ NHL goalieÂ Kelly Hrudey, Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice andÂ Capitals General Manager George McPhee.Â I’m sure if I had stuck around for more than 15 minutes I would have seen many others as well and it was clear that any fans who cared to look around would have had many opportunities for autographs, pictures and discussion.
I’m not much for gambling butÂ for those that areÂ there’s the opportunity to see many NHL players, coaches and staff at the Palms Casino. How cool would it be to get the chance to shoot some dice or play some blackjack with an NHL player? And justÂ a guess, but I’ll bet there will be a few NHL players at the at the Playboy ClubÂ at the Palms Casino the next two nights.
I have never been to Toronto, the former home of the NHL Awards Show, but I cannot imagine a better city in North America to host this event. The only thing that would be better than this, and I hate to give this idea away, would be to have this show on a cruise ship. If the NHL could take over an entire cruise ship and the only people on board were NHL employees, players, coaches, front office staff from all 30 teams, mediaÂ and NHL fans – well, that would be awesome. I wouldn’t even care where the boat was going. With a theater capable of hosting the show, a casino, multiple bars and dance clubs, a spa, a fitness center, multiple pools, award winning food, a movie theaterÂ and a kids center it would have everything you could want. I know at least one cruise ship has a skating rink on board and if the NHL were to take the Awards Show to that boat the fans on board could have the chance to skate with their favorite players!
But I digress. Tomorrow is the actual Awards Show and with a red carpet entrance there will be yet another chance for fans to see and interact with their favorite players. The NHL has brought their best players to Las Vegas and there’s no better place on earth for an NHL fan to be right now. If you missed it this year you can make it a point to be here in either 2010 or 2011 when the NHL Awards Show returns to Sin City. I’ll be here and even though this trip is far from over I am already looking forward to next year. Bravo, Mr. BettmanÂ , bravo.