CHICAGO--While the 2017 National Hockey League Draft was a moment for the incoming class of players to find out which organization their rights belong to--an official coming-of-hockey-age party, if you will--as they begin their journey into the professional ranks of the sport, the selection show didn't offer the only surprise for fans of the Colorado Avalanche.
As players and family and staff raced around to meet each other, the media and to fulfill draft obligations, one person was just soaking it all in.
You see, newly-signed Avs defenseman Andrei Mironov didn't get the chance to attend his own draft in 2015, so he was taking in the experience with his agent, Dan Milstein, as names were called and dreams came true for two days at the United Center in Chicago.
"[I like] it very much. It's a great experience and a great day for the parents, for the players and for everybody around," Mironov said through Milstein, who was translating for the Russian. "[I like] to see an arena full of people at the draft, and hopefully it's a happy day for a lot of people."
Video: Mironov talks about joining the Avs
Mironov signed a two-year, entry-level contract with Colorado on May 12, and the NHL Draft was the first stop on his trip to Denver for development camp and the coming season.
"[I'm] going to work hard. [I'm] going to be part of many camps this summer, and [I'm] going to work tirelessly to come in and make the team out of the gate and prove to everybody that [I am] worth [having] here," Mironov said of his summer plans. "A lot of hard work is ahead, and [I'm] prepared for that. [I'm] going to give [my] all, and [I'm] going to work, work, work."
The 22-year-old native of Moscow spent the last five years playing for Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League and, after being released from the final year of his deal, he is getting the chance to make the leap to the North American game.
"I was drafted a couple years ago, during my contract with the KHL, and I'm super excited to come and play for the Avalanche in the NHL," he said. "I have been [in] the Dynamo system since the age of five. I am forever grateful [to them] for giving the opportunity [to me] and developing me into the player [I am], and I'm super excited to take on the next challenge in Denver and Colorado."
After being selected in the fourth round (101st overall) at the 2015 NHL Draft, Mironov revealed that he stayed in frequent contact with his new organization despite staying with Dynamo.
"They've been constantly staying in touch with [me] over the last couple years, checking on [me], offering help, and they were very supportive," he admitted.
For those who don't know, the 6-foot-3, 194-pound rear guard is a punishing, stay-at-home type of blueliner.
When asked to describe his game, the answer was easy.
"[I'm] a defensive defenseman. [I like] a very physical game, hip checking and stuff," he said with a chuckle.
Mironov recorded 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) in 196 contests with Dynamo Moscow during his time there and also contributed 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 54 postseason matches. The squad won the Gagarin Cup in 2012-13, and Mironov played in his first KHL All-Star Game in 2014-15.
Mironov skated in his first IIHF World Championship in 2015, registering one point in nine matches en route to a silver medal. He won bronze at this year's World Championship as well.
He also competed at two World Junior Championships (2013, 2014), earning bronze medals for his country in both. Mironov put up four points (one goal, three assists) in seven contests at the tournament in 2014, where he also served as an alternate captain, and posted two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games in 2013.
The defenseman will take the ice this week at the Avalanche's annual development camp.