NHL Draft fun gets underway in Dallas while Mavs introduce their own new players

DALLAS -- Get ready for more excitement over names being called from a podium as the NHL Draft is in Dallas this weekend!

A couple months after the NFL Draft visited Texas for the first time, the NHL Draft is doing the same at the American Airlines Center.  Round one is Friday night starting at 6:30 on NBC Sports Network and Rounds two through seven are Saturday starting at 10 a.m. on the NHL Network.

"We want to be a jewel franchise in kind of a non-traditional market," says Dallas Stars president Brad Alberts.  "Having an event like this - we've had this now, we've had the All-Star Game - they're key things to do for the league, and we're happy to do it.

"A lot of people have put a lot of time into putting this event on and making sure it's first-class."

While the NHL Draft is not as big of a production as the NFL Draft was, hockey is much more of a global sport, so Dallas is actually on a bigger stage than it was in April.

"There's people from Russia, Sweden, Finland, all coming to Dallas, Texas," says Alberts.  "We're proud to showcase what we've built here [as] an NHL team for the past 25 years, and I think the City of Dallas is proud to host them."

And one thing the NHL Draft has that the NFL Draft doesn't: the Stanley Cup!  Fans lined up to get pictures and touch it, but you won't see any teams except reigning champion Washington doing the same because of the longstanding superstition that it's bad luck if you get too close to the cup without having won it.

"I was in the room with it again today but I did not take a picture with it and I did not touch it," says Alberts with a smile.  "We'd like to have it here next June, for sure."

Also at the American Airlines Center on Friday, the Mavericks introduced two of the players they acquired in the NBA Draft the night prior: 19-year-old European star, Luka Doncic, and Jalen Brunson, who was the consensus player of the year in college basketball this past season.  Combined with other additions the Mavs have made the past two seasons, head coach Rick Carlisle thinks the franchise is finally ready to put its recent rut in the rear-view.

"Last night was symbolic to me.  It was kind of a defining moment in this rebuild.  We're going to propel forward with the idea that we've got to start winning games."

Doncic, who is from Slovenia, had never been to Texas before Friday's introductory news conference.  But he already knows the one thing you've got to know about in these parts.

"I know about the Cowboys," he said with a laugh.

Hey, if he lives up to his potential the Cowboys will know about him pretty soon!