So just how big a deal is it for the NHL Draft to come to town this weekend?
“It’s exciting,” said new general manager Ron Hextall, who says that really won’t change the way he approaches his job. “It’ll probably be the first time in draft history the Flyers get a nice ovation instead of getting booed.”
In many ways though, Philadelphia has replaced Detroit as “Hockey Town,” with the Draft becoming the fourth major event here in just the past four years. It started off with the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, which ended dramatically on Chicago’s Patrick Kane’s Cup winning goal that no one — except him — saw go in.
Two years later the Flyers hosted the Rangers in the Winter Classic at Citizen’s Bank Park, followed this past April when the NCAA brought the Frozen Four to town.
This is bigger, with hotels and restaurants figuring to get an economic boost and the city putting on its best face to promote civic pride and perhaps knock down some of the stereotypes that have gone on through the years.
“To have the event come to Philadelphia and the spotlight right on us, is gonna be cool,” said Hextall’s predecessor turned team president, Paul Holmgren.
The only thing cooler would be fulfilling the quest Hextall says will start with a successful draft — hoping that leads into the kind of memorable seasons his former employer, the Kings, have had two of the last three years.
And ends with them hoisting the Stanley Cup.