Leading up to the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on June 30, the Rampage will revisit the draft memories of several players recently selected by the Florida Panthers.
See below as forward Quinton Howden discusses his memories of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Selected in the first round, 25th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Drafted from the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors
What are some of the things you remember from the draft?
I remember I was really nervous. You never really know what’s going to happen. There could be trades that effect where you go. It’s completely out of your hands. It got to the point where it was just killing me in the insides. But when you finally get picked it’s one of the best moments of your life. I’ll never forget it.
What were your feelings when you heard your name called?
I couldn’t even believe it. It was a huge, “Oh my gosh,” moment. I froze up and didn’t know what to do for a minute. Then I got up and gave hugs to my family and friends who were able to be there with me. When I made it up to the stage, (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman was waiting for me and said, “Welcome to the NHL.” I’ll never forget that. I think that’s when it sunk in a little bit for me. I was just very grateful to have been selected and I’m very proud to be a part of Florida’s organization.
Did you have any idea that the Panthers were especially interested in drafting you?
It’s kind of a toss-up. You always hear that some people like you and some people don’t. I was just hoping to go somewhere in the first round. I thought I had a good interview with Florida and with the couple of trades they made, I thought they might be interested. I was really happy when they picked me.
How was it being in Los Angeles for the draft?
The Staples Center was huge and the fans were great. I remember seeing walls of fans outside waiting to get in and they all had different jerseys on. Everyone was very nice. You’d be walking around in a suit and people wouldn’t necessarily know who you were, but they’d come up and shake your hand and congratulate you. It was pretty cool.
Did you hang out with the other guys who were selected by the Panthers after the draft?
I knew (third overall pick by the Panthers) Eric Gudbranson at the time of the draft and I saw him upstairs after we were both selected. That whole day was a whirlwind. You are introduced to all the staff and it was a little bit overwhelming. But looking back, it was an incredible experience.
How many phone calls and text messages did you receive after being drafted?
I had my phone turned off before the draft started. When I turned it back on after being picked, I was overwhelmed with how many people reached out. I sent out a mass text to everyone just thanking them for their support. When I got home, I tried to reconnect with everyone and really thank them for all they had done to help me along the way. I couldn’t have gotten to that point without the help and support from a lot of people and I did my best to thank everyone who had a part in helping me get drafted. It was a pretty special couple of days.