Chicago Blackhawks fans rejoiced on Monday night as their team won the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. However, Columbus Blue Jackets fans have a new public enemy #1 in ESPN hockey analyst Kevin Weekes.
Weeks handled the ESPN presentation of the draft lottery, adding commentary whenever a pick was revealed. Toward the end of the lottery, three teams remained: the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, and Anaheim Ducks.
After the San Jose Sharks were awarded the fourth overall pick, ESPN went on a commercial break. But before that, Weekes mentioned that the Blue Jackets would pick third overall, despite that development not being shown as part of the lottery.
When they returned from commercial break, Columbus indeed received the third pick. Anaheim received the second overall pick while Chicago won the lottery. NHL Twitter exploded as a result of Weekes’ error.
nothing is more nhl than kevin weekes spoiling the draft order and proving the draft lottery is rigged by accidentally announcing that the blue jackets dropped to third
— n (@davidsonfc) May 9, 2023
I hope Bedard is a all time great because he is moving to my city, and we will always have the NHL rigged ping pong ball machine moment to tell our kids about. Will make Ewing frozen envelope look like child’s play. What a moment to share
— PFT Commenter (@PFTCommenter) May 9, 2023
Ive said it once and i’ll say it again…nothing more rigged in all of sports than the NHL draft lottery https://t.co/0oQEOAUSym
— Mike Grinnell (@MikeGrinnell_) May 9, 2023
It’s so obviously rigged you can’t even deny it at this point
— blashdril (@blashdril) May 9, 2023
I’m now on the rigged train. I wasn’t before. I am now.#CBJ
— Phil R (@PostGradPhil) May 9, 2023
No NHL fan is surprised by Chicago getting first at all. Maybe just surprised at how bad ESPN messed that up, or surprised how blatantly rigged it was lol.
— dani smith (@thedanismith) May 9, 2023
The heart of the issue revolves around the prize of this year’s NHL Draft Lottery. The Blackhawks won the right to select Regina Pats superstar Connor Bedard first overall on Monday.
Bedard is considered a generational talent and could alter the course of the Blackhawks for years to come. He is coming off a 71-goal season in the Western Hockey League and a record-breaking performance at the IIHF World Juniors in 2022.
The 2023 NHL Draft takes place in Nashville, Tennesee with the first round taking place on Wednesday, June 28. Rounds 2 through 7 will occur on June 29, also happening in Nashville.
Bedard heads to Chicago barring any draft surprise, and hockey fans are certainly not going to let the Blackhawks live this down. Only time will tell how long this will live in the memory of hockey fans.
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