Bus Charter Tales: Handling the NHL Draft

The key to managing ground transportation when the NHL comes to town? Teamwork.

The NHL Draft: Where dreams meet the business of professional hockey

One of the most memorable experiences we’ve had as a company was when the NHL Entry Draft came to Saint Paul, MN back in 2011.

It was the first time the event was held in our state since 1989, the year the North Stars hosted the draft, and Lorenz Bus Service was the transportation manager and provider. It was a task that quickly became a logistical jig saw puzzle.

Executives, players, families, and more.

Hotel room availability was limited due to multiple large conventions in Saint Paul. The NHL executives and aspiring NHL players stayed in eight hotels throughout Minneapolis.

Each group attending the draft required separate shuttle service . The draftees traveled with their family members. Media reporters and camera crews also moved around together. Team executives and event staff all needed transportation based on different schedules. And no one could be late.

Coordination is the key

We worked with the NHL event staff to develop a plan that ensured the timely arrival and departure of every key group moving in and out of the draft. Details include:

  • Hotel staff. We coordinated pickup and drop-off locations with hotel representatives to make sure no time was lost when boarding.
  • Preferred and alternative routes. Optimal and backup routes were mapped based on hotel pickup/dropoff preferences, safety concerns, road construction, traffic patterns, and travel schedules.
  • Schedule analysis. We maximized the use of vehicles across different events by identifying schedule efficiencies. The NHL saved time and money by minimizing the number of vehicles needed while still providing timely service for all constituents.
  • On–site greeters. Route escorts and on-site supervision for NHL draftees and family members made everyone feel informed, reassured, and prepared.
  • Route signage. We used prominent route signage with all vehicles to keep everyone on track.
  • Two-way radios. Updates were shared immediately with constant radio contact.
  • The right fleet. In all, more than 30 motor coaches and mini coaches over the five day period were used to do the job.

Professional sports drafts are intense events. So much is at stake for the players, teams, executives, and every company that supports a successful outcome.

And just like the players, we at Lorenz are proud to have what it takes to compete at this level.