Had the NHL draft not been held at Xcel Energy Center this week, Steven Fogarty would have been a no-show to one of the biggest moments of his life.
But fate has a way of working out.
The New York Rangers selected Fogarty, a 6-2, 194-pound forward from Edina, with the 10th pick of the third round (72nd overall) to the surprise of just about everyone in the building.
That includes the man himself.
"At first I wasn't planning on coming, but since it was here ... " said Fogarty, who scored 40 points for the Hornets this season and was ranked 90th among North American skaters on the Central Scouting list. "I was shaking the whole way down [to the main floor]. I definitely didn't see myself going this high, but it's an honor to be drafted by a great team like New York. It still hasn't sunk in yet."
It surely soon will, when Fogarty makes his first trip to the Big Apple and skates at Madison Square Garden at the Rangers' rookie camp.
"Going into the draft, I just wanted to go somewhere," Fogarty said.
About a month ago, Rangers scout Tom Thompson had a lengthy visit at Fogarty's home. Though it was one of several meetings with NHL teams in anticipation of the draft, the feeling was mutual that the encounter was a sign.
It was then announced Saturday that New York traded forward Evgeny Grachev to St. Louis in exchange for a third-round pick, and Fogarty's heart started racing.
Indeed, he was the player they wanted. The meeting with Thompson sealed it.
"It's like buying a puppy or a racehorse as a colt: You look at the bloodlines," said Thompson, former assistant general manager for the Wild. "I met the family, the parents. Just to get a feeling. There are some factors that raise red flags. And in this case, there weren't any."
Fogarty's bump up Saturday wasn't the only one among local players.
Eden Prairie's Kyle Rau, ranked No. 177 on the Central Scouting list, went 91st overall to Florida.
His luck at Xcel Energy Center, though, should surprise no one. Rau, a 5-8, 163-pound forward, scored the Class 2A state championship-winning overtime goal there in March for the Eagles on a spectacular diving play.
"Can't get any better [than] being drafted 20 minutes from your house," Rau said. "This past year has been amazing. I should buy this place someday."
Holy Angels senior Joseph LaBate didn't exactly receive the warmest of welcomes when he was taken 101st overall. That's because he was selected by Vancouver, a franchise that was jeered all weekend.
LaBate, though, wasn't among the boo-birds.
"You just hope you get picked by a really good organization," he said. "I did and I'm thrilled."