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NHL provides plenty of fun for hockey fans outside the Staples Center

Jun 25, 2010, 5:30 PM EDT

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Being the last major event before the NHL goes into spectacle hibernation, it was nice to see that the league rolled out some state fair-like attractions to entertain children (plus man-children) and hockey fans alike. Young hockey fans could play a little street hockey in one spot, 2K Sports displayed its video game wares and plenty of photo opportunities could be had.

As you can see from this photo (all via The Royal Half) the outdoor events were nicely attended (especially considering the fact that the pictures were taken about four hours before the draft was set to go live on TV).

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Perhaps the most amusing sight was this inflatable hockey player, who bore a disturbing resemblance to rugged Carolina Hurricanes center Rod Brind’amour.

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Another strange setup featured some odd, eerily life-like  yet faceless statues of different players (such as Dany Heatley, below) meant to sell jerseys as well as mini-goalies with openings for people to stick their grinning faces. High points for creativity, at least.

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Overall, it was a nice atmosphere. I didn’t really know what to expect from the draft (aside from the fact that the whether would be incredible), but so far so good.

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