Ice Hawks draft timeline
Editor's note: Sports writer Ben Pherson covers the Ice Hawks for the Post-Bulletin. Pherson was granted access to the Ice Hawks "war room" as the front office entered its first ever North American Tier 3 Hockey League draft Tuesday night. Here is a running timeline of what went down on draft night inside the Ice Hawks draft room:
4:41 p.m. —I arrive at Rec Center. Assistant coach Corey Dubois already is in the Ice Hawks draft room, as is Midwest scout Joe Burrage. Jon Volker enters the room at the same time; he's there to document the draft with video coverage for Ice Hawks website.
4:47 p.m. —Ice Hawks assistant coach Eric Hofmann enters "war room" ... he's talking with Dubois about trades, pre-draft trades that were made before the league's tender deadline (Monday). Shopping tenders with other teams from the Midwest, including two teams from Wisconsin.
4:51 p.m. —Ice Hawks head coach Nick Fatis enters the draft room. He's organizing the table and draft sheets. Table is moved closer to the room's white-erase board, which is empty now.
4:57 p.m. —The Ice Hawks "big board" (or draft list) includes 142 players. Going through final instructions before they enter into the league's live draft. Someone within the organization has both seen and/or talked to every single player on the team's big board. Most of the players were scouted at the CCM Showcase in Denver.
5:01 p.m. —Louisiana starts off the 2015 NA3HL draft by selecting Brycon Johnson from the St. Louis Selects 18-U team.
5:04 p.m. —Fatis and his assistants now digging deep into their first-round pick. They're debating between several different defensemen.
5:12 p.m. —Ice Hawks are still 25 picks away from being on the clock, however they're getting on the phone with Peter Karavos, who they hope to select at some point tonight. Their current plan is to select Cory Richardson, a defenseman, with their first pick if he's still available. Everyone in agreement. Big, puck-moving defenseman. He's Fatis' type of player.
5:15 p.m. —A player from the U.S. Development team was just drafted. A laugh rolls over the war room ... it's HIGHLY unlikely a player of that talent level will play in the NA3. Several elite players being selected, kids who could likely play in the USHL, which means there's no chance they'll ever see the NA3HL.
5:18 p.m. —The Ice Hawks are on the clock. They get the guy they wanted, Cory Richardson. He's from Colorado. He's 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. There's no celebration, but Ice Hawks get their man.
5:19 p.m. —First round ends. Louisiana back on the clock.
5:22 p.m. —Talk immediately shifts to Ice Hawks' second-round pick.
5:23 p.m. —The first player who's on the Ice Hawks' big board has been selected. And another goes. And a third ... all back-to-back-to-back. Big board adjusting quickly. Guys the Ice Hawks coaching staff scouted and planned to target are now unavailable. There's no panic, maybe a bit of surprise it took until the second round for this to happen.
5:26 p.m. —Ice Hawks talking about a goalie for second-round pick. But they're thinking Brendan Knox, defenseman, he's a 1996 birth year ... also from Colorado. Last team was Rocky Mountain RoughRiders. He's 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. He was paired with Richardson for much of the CCM Showcase. Fatis says, if they get both guys and they both end up in Rochester, the Ice Hawks will have their best blue line ever.
5:31 p.m. —The coaches are eating. Lots of vending machine food. It seems to be a theme for tonight.
5:34 p.m. —Ice Hawks officially select Brendan Knox. He's the No. 67 overall pick. Another good defenseman. Fatis said early on there was no agenda for the draft, other than protecting a few kids he hoped would end up in Rochester. But with back-to-back defensemen, it seems the emphasis is on beefing up the blue line. Hofmann says they entered tonight with only two defensemen on the roster who they know are coming back, so adding defensive help makes sense.
5:44 p.m. —They're already talking about their third-round pick. They want Peter Karavos, a forward who played for Hudson last season. Very skilled, one of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League's most talented players last season.
5:57 p.m. —Ice Hawks select Karavos. They're excited. He's had a great deal of contact with former Ice Hawks forward Trevor Sabo. Wants to play some place that will help him have options for college next season. Karavos was the No. 101 pick overall. If he ends up in Rochester, Fatis said he could easily lead the team in scoring and be one of the NA3's top offensive players. He says there's no reason Karavos shouldn't be getting many college looks.
6:01 p.m. —The Ice Hawks are already almost on the clock in the fourth round. This pick came quickly ... they're still debating which direction to go. Picks are flying now. Being posted fasted as they can be typed in.
6:02 p.m. —Leaning defenseman over goalie here ... Tommy Campbell. Lots of debate going on. Room is split. Ice Hawks already have selected two defensemen. But they're still leaning toward another defensemen. They only have two returning.
6:03 p.m. —After much debate, the Ice Hawks turn to Volker ... they can't decide, so they're letting him make the call. He says defenseman. And the Ice Hawks pick Tommy Campbell. Burrage immediately makes contact with Campbell's father. They like the pick and think he'll end up in Rochester. Speedy defenseman, can make an immediate impact in the NA3, according to Burrage.
6:24 p.m. —Staff hoping the goalie they wanted will still be on the board. So far so good. Sam Nelson may be back next season, but he's not a lock. That would leave team with one goalie (Kyle Plantz, traded to Rochester from Pittsburgh before the draft) right now if Nelson did not return.
6:25 p.m. —Talking about a forward they really want. From Fresno ... everyone in the room seems to love him. Carter Dahl is his name. Fatis calls him a bigger version of Korby Anderson, a former Ice Hawks star.
6:27 p.m. —Nine goalies have been selected already this round ... might be a pushing point. The debate rages on. They're debating Dahl or a goalie. Room seems to be leaning toward the goalie.
6:30 p.m. —And now the shift is back on. Carter Dahl. They love him. Fresno Monsters, WHL, upside is huge. Forward, very skilled. "Nasty" is most common word used to describe him. He's young, a 1997 birth year, yet he's already played three years of juniors. .... And here comes the pick, it's Dahl; Ice Hawks make it official.
6:31 p.m. —The goalie they want is still there. His name is R. Zachary Mains. He played for Rocky Mountain RoughRiders (AAA midget team) last season. He's very big at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and he moves well.
6:41 p.m. —Room is losing focus here. Ice Hawks know who they're picking here in the sixth round, so they're just waiting. The Ice Hawks traded their seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh for Plantz. That trade happened in late May. So after this next pick, they'll be off the clock for a long time.
6:46 p.m. —After the long wait, Ice Hawks make the Mains pick official. ... Equipment manager Justin Bowder enters the room.
6:50 p.m. —Fatis, Dubois and Hofmann debating direction for final pick. (There are only eight rounds.) They're considering local players and former competitors from the MnJHL. It will be the second to last pick of the entire draft.
6:54 p.m. —Big board being updated with potential final picks. Fatis also posting guys the protected players he believes will for sure return to Rochester, and another list of protected players who are "maybes."
7:00 p.m. —Talk now shifts to a local kid, from Austin. They move on because they think they can get him anyway ... draft pick or not.
7:01 p.m. —Debate shifts to Ryan Cox. Making calls now to find out. And they've moved on, not taking him.
7:05 p.m. —Debate continues. No consensus. They're scouring rosters now.
7:11 p.m. —Ice Hawks on the clock. They still haven't decided.
7:12 p.m. —A last-second push happens. They take ... Nikita Diakonov, defenseman, a defenseman who played for the Forest Lake Lakers last season. He's big, from Russia. If he ends up here, it'll be another big "get" for the Ice Hawks.
7:20 p.m. —The draft ends. The room seems happy. Hofmann immediately calls owner/general manager Michael Fatis to give him a breakdown.
7:25 p.m. —Fatis' youngest son, Evan, enters the room. Fatis does an interview, shakes a few hands, and the draft is over. Everyone seems surprised by how fast it went. It didn't last much longer than two hours from start to finish. Fatis and Hofmann will spend the next few days contacting the players they picked tonight. The team's main camp isn't until the middle of August. They'll know more at that time.