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Sharks Win! Behind the Scenes of the Real Draft Lottery



SECAUCUS, N.J. — The biggest moment in San Jose Sharks history might not have happened on the ice but instead in a small, nondescript NHL Network conference room.

The NHL held the actual draft lottery draw about 60 minutes before the made-for-TV reveal, which happened close to 7 p.m. ET, in a two-story building the league shares with MLB Network.

Twenty-one people crammed into the roughly 12 foot-by-24 foot room. Among them were NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Ernst and Young auditor Scott Clarke and Smartplay International employee Will Markham.

Only one NHL team representative, Pittsburgh Penguins director of hockey operations and legal affairs Vukie Mpofu, attended the draw. Teams really don’t send reps to either the actual draft lottery or the TV reveal anymore — that was more of a pre-COVID thing. The San Jose Sharks, for example, didn’t send anybody, even with former Jr. Shark Macklin Celebrini the prize of this draft lottery.

As for media, I was there, along with ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski and’s Mike Morreale. Otherwise, league executives and staffers filled the room.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who revealed the draft lottery order on TV, wasn’t in the room for the drawing. None of us were allowed out of the room for any reason until the reveal was complete, except for a couple key exceptions.

Celebrini, the presumed No. 1 overall pick, was in the building but not for the actual lottery.

At about 5:30 p.m., we all were ushered into the conference room and asked to place our phones in a sealed envelope. Laptops either were to be left unopened or in a backpack. There would be no leaks of the result before the on-TV announcement.

At 5:38, Bettman kicked off the proceedings by holding up two newspapers — today’s New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — to certify it indeed was May 7, 2024. He then explained the draft lottery ground rules, and introduced team and media members who were in the room.

It took Bettman over five minutes to get through all the rules, but they were relevant in the end, as we were about to witness two significant, historic draft lottery events.

Read the Full San Jose Sharks Story at NBC Sports Bay Area

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interesting story!!

Seems a bit too complicated, but I can imagine it was pretty intense.

Also, “This forced a redraw because the Sharks’ pick already had been decided. After all, they couldn’t win the lottery twice.” I guess, technically, they won it 3 times.

It’ll sure be nice if they could borrow one of today’s ‘extra’ wins for next season’s lottery!!


Also, not sure I aw his name on any lists, but is Bruce Boudreau a guy Sharks might be interested in for HC — and visa versa?

He knows how to handle talent, has good record for developing players and the job just got meaningfully more attractive.

I know his teams lost a lot of opening round playoff series, but he has put together really good teams.

Just Steve

Oh man… all this hoopla about the draft lottery I forgot the Sharks still need to hire a new head coach


I like him for the team next season too. Agreed on all points!


Sheng, we’re sending you every year until the Sharks make the playoffs!😜


What was really “interesting” was the #11 came up on ALL 4 draws!

Should the NHL start weighing the balls beforehand?

On another note, sorry Knynzy (Knyzhov) you’re gonna have to give up #71. I’m sure Macklin will comp you some GSW tix for trading numbers!


Wow, not many people get to see something like that in person, that must have been a pretty interesting experience for a sports fan! Glad you got to go Sheng



I was wondering why there wasn’t a draft party like last year (that was a ton of fun).

You were off witnessing Sharks history receiving their first NHL 1st overall pick and two redraws making league history.

What a day. Thank you for the great coverage and a peek behind the curtain.

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