My trip to Philadelphia for the 2014 NHL Draft was very exciting, and was a great success.




It was a long drive, with an even longer traffic jam to get through before entering the city – but the wait was well worth it. Immediately as we arrive my brother (assistant) and I had the pleasure of catching a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. It was a perfect night, and we had perfect seats. The people around us were all generously nice and excited to hear about two Canadian boys coming all this way for my show. They were even more excited that we were witnessing our first ever Phillies game. And, since there were so many extra innings on this particular night, we were able to see the park from many different vantage points. It truly is a beautiful park. Many thanks goes out to our friend Gary Matthews. We had a wonderful time – and will hopefully be back in the future to celebrate with you on another joyous occasion. We really appreciate your generosity.

But the night was not over – for after the game there was an amazing fifteen minute display of fireworks. With the Fourth of July coming up, we had a theory that they might celebrate the same show night after night. So we had the opportunity to experience the amazing fireworks three times from the lawn of our hotel just outside of the ball park. Stunning!

The NHL Draft.

We woke up, dressed up, and went to work setting up my display on our given lot. This was the first time that I have allowed my artwork to be showed outdoors – and for obvious reasons. Although the day turned out to be a beauty, we were daunted by thick clouds at the beginning. They quickly blew over and it turned out to be a scorcher of a day. Thankfully, I was placed under a very convenient stretch-tent that became a temple of shade for me and everyone that wanted an up-close look at my artwork.

There was so much to do at this event! Sit on the Zambonies, play mini sticks or take part in a long line of hockey-skilled games. There were blow up floats, live music, and a ton of fun for children and parents to partake in.

As the day wore on the crowds began to move over to the Wells Fargo Center Arena where the NHL Draft was taking part – just across the street from the Fun-Zone where I was. Of course we were given tickets and we quickly dismantled my paintings and headed on over. The inside of their arena was filled with hockey memorabilia, trophies, banners, and – my favourite – globe hockey games for all to play. But we would enjoy those later. We wanted to see the draft! The arena was abuzz with energy and excitement as a full-house of fans crowded into the arena to view the draft. Prospects and their families to one side of the lower deck, teams and management huddled together in secretive seating arrangements, news/telecast programs and TV hosts adding their opinions at the back of the arena and giving interviews on the side – and of course, an amazing display of lighting and videography happening all around the arena to keep the fans up to date on the happenings.

Of course, being Red Wing fans, we had our sights locked on the center table. The men in suits sat around their table, sometimes walking around to other tables, conferring with one another, and busily walking back. When the time came, Gary Bettman would walk on stage to announce the next team. A timer would begin ticking, adding to the excitement, as the scoreboard lit up with a video introduction. The arena would become filled with each particular teams home colours and the team would get up and file on stage once they had made a decision. They announced it over the podium and the players would hug their family as their lives were changed forever. With many handshakes they came down to the stage, pulled a jersey over their heads and were probably the happiest they had ever been in their entire lives. This was their moment. Next they would move to the side for an interview, and later join the team down on the ice-level where more people would come to congratulate them. I’m sure they were treated very well that night.

The celebrations continued into the night as our hotel bar was alive and well.

I woke up very early the next morning to set my display up once more. Now into Day Two of the draft, we were going to do it all over again. It was another stunning day, but this time there was a wind to combat against. Luckily, we were able to tie my display to the tent-poles to keep it grounded. My booth was so popular the first day that I had completely run out of programs I came prepared to hand out. Luckily, with my brother at my side I had him run out to make a few extra hundred prints for me. Once again, they were gone in no-time.

The festive occasion was brought to another level as people crowded into the XFINITY LIVE! Zone’s bar to watch the World Cup of Soccer. Once my day came to a conclusion I was able to catch a few last minutes of the overtime shootout and have some beer in wings.

I also had the opportunity to see the sights of the city. My brother had come to Philadelphia on a business trip two weeks prior, so he knew all of the right spots to show me. We walked around for hours to the Bridge, downtown, city hall, art museum, train station, and along their river. But the long walk was good as we had a long drive home ahead of us the next morning. But of course, we had to make it back to our hotel if we wanted to catch the fireworks again. Which we did.

The ride back was much better than the ride up surprisingly. Thanks Philly for the great time. Hopefully you enjoyed my artwork as well.