NHL Draft Lottery night. A talented teenager’s life determined by the number etched on a random ping-pong ball.
“It’s not fun.
“It’s upsetting,” the 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick told the Edmonton Sun‘s Terry Jones.
“I really feel for (Auston) Matthews, having to go through what I had to go through,” the Edmonton Oilers top centre went on. He spoke to the outlet from Europe, where he’s preparing to defend Canada’s gold at the IIHF World Championship next month.
“It was so stressful, not just for myself but for my family.”
The tension among the McDavid family was palpable in Toronto at the lottery, and it lingered well after his fate was decided.
The Oilers have a 13.5 per cent chance of winning Saturday’s Matthews Sweepstakes, but club CEO Bob Nicholson is confident that’s enough for Edmonton to walk away victorious, yet again.
“We’re going to win it,” Nicholson told the Sun earlier this week.
Nicholson is sending general manager Peter Chiarelli to Hockey Night in Canada with a secret lucky charm, just as he did with Bill Scott’s lucky socks in ’15.
“It’s Peter’s turn to win. We have something lucky that he’ll be given. If we win, we’ll unveil it. If we don’t, we won’t,” Nicholson said. “I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t think it’s right that we even have a chance to win, but our goal is to go in there and win it and then see what happens.”
Like McDavid with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Matthews has a chance to land on his hometown team, the Arizona Coyotes, but odds are the Scottsdale, Ariz., native will be heading to Canada.
“If I were to say anything to Matthews, it would be to keep an open mind,” said McDavid. “But I know how hard that is to do.
“The reason it’s so stressful is that when they open one of those envelopes, your fate is being decided for the next how many years.
An 18-year-old’s future — where you live, which friends you meet, your chances of winning a Stanley Cup, where you might find love — rests on which logo is on that golden card.
“It even affects the taxes you’ll pay,” McDavid said.