PHILADELPHIA - You don't even need to know who the kids at the NHL Draft are to have fun at the event. Heck, just hearing some of these names said out loud is amazing. The Montreal Canadiens drafted a guy named Hayden Hawkey, for pete's sake. That's a mascot name. If I didn't see a photo of him to verify that he was human, I'd have assumed he was the replacement for Youppi!.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche called a time out in the sixth round, and then selected Maximilan Pajpach. We can assume they needed the extra time to learn how to pronounce the name.
That's to say nothing of Jayce Hawryluk, Vitek Vanecek, Hugo Fagerblom, or Dwyer Tschantz, a name that's eight letters long and somehow has just one vowel. And even then, all of the names listed above failed to crack our list of the 10 best names of the 2014 NHL draft. That starts now:
10 | ELVIS MERZLIKINS
Merzlikins explained that his father's name is Elvis (which means that Elvis Merzlikins really is plural; it's not just a Latvian thing) and his dad's favorite singer is Elvis. So there was no getting away from this name. Plus it fits, since rumor has it he ain't nothing but a hound dog.
9 | ROURKE CHARTIER
Interesting fact about Rourke Chartier: he plays in a monocle and top hat, and enjoys a subscription to Yachting Enthusiasts Monthly. Also, in America, his name is spelled "Rorke Carter".
8 | DYLAN SADOWY
The San Jose Sharks drafted this "sadowy" figure. What do they know about him? Nothing. No one knows anything, most of all where the "H" in his name went.
7 | JOONAS LYYTINEN
And speaking of shadowy figures, As soon as I saw this name go up on the board, I knew that it was a clue. That's not a real name. It's an anagram. But for what? My best guess, after consulting an Internet anagram generator, is Jay Linen Snooty. Who are you, Jay Linen Snooty, and what do you want?
6 | DYSIN MAYO
His first name is vacuum cleaner and his second name is a condiment. Come on now. Seriously, this is like what would happen if someone lied about having a boyfriend, and then, pressed to give his name, looked around the room and said things they saw. "Uhhhh... Cookies... Lagostina. Cookies Lagostina. He's Italian. Cookies is a nickname. His real name is... Blender... Blendan... Brendan! Brendan 'Cookies' Lagostina."
5 | NOAH ROD
The manliest name around. His first name screams "boat-builder". His last name screams "rod".
4 | CLINSTON FRANKLIN
I know how this happened. His dad wanted the manly "Clint", for his favourite actor, or maybe his favorite Howard brother. But his mom wanted the classier "Winston". And so they reached a compromise. I once met an Irish girl named "Teshawna" who fell victim to this unfortunate conflict-resolution-by-way-of-name-foul.
3 | KAAPO KAHKONEN
When his name was announced, I misheard it as "Taco Kahkonen", which is better, in my opinion. But I digress. If you made up a Fin, and said his name was Kaapo Kahkonen, people would accuse you of mocking the good people of Finland. Which I would never do, even if this kid's name sounds like the noise you make when you accidentally inhale a cat hair.
2 | RICHARD NEJEZCHLEB
I've got nothing against Richard Nejezchleb personally, but as an NHL writer, there's a part of me that hopes he never makes the NHL, where I'd have to write about him. This name is a typo trap if I've ever seen one. "Is it N-E-J-H? No? N-E-Z-C? No? Am I reading it backwards? Are you really Richard Belhczejen?" This name makes no phonetic sense. None. And it doesn't lend itself very well to a mnemonic. It's a great name otherwise. Four consonants, and high-value Scrabble consonants at that.
1 | JULIUS HONKA
His nickname is Honks, which is probably a slight improvement on "Honker". I'm a little disappointed he didn't go to Nashville, where the "Honka Tonk" headline writes itself, but I'm sure it'll still get used in Dallas. Heck, NHL.com going to have a field day with this one. "Honka honka burning love"? "Honka if you love cookies"? And if the Stars Twitter account doesn't give us a condescending Honka meme, they're doing it wrong.
- Ice Hockey