12-year-old Ezekiel “Zeke” Estrada of Anaheim has been selected as the grand prize winner in Upper Deck’s recent “NHL Entry Draft Runner” essay contest.
The promotion was conducted over the past three weeks across ten participating Los Angeles-area hobby shops where shop owners solicited written entries from youngsters who purchased a box of 2009-10 Upper Deck NHL hockey cards.
The rules were simple: submit a one-paragraph explanation to the shop owner describing why he or she should be selected for the opportunity to serve as Upper Deck’s NHL Entry Draft Runner at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at the StaplesCenter in Los Angeles.
His duties will include shuttling information for one NHL team while player evaluations and selections are made.
Several dozen written entries were submitted with an internal committee of staffers selecting the winner. Zeke is a hockey player himself, currently a member of the Anaheim Junior Ducks in the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association’s Pee-Wee Double-A division.
Estrada submitted his winning entry through the OC Dugout hobby shop in Anaheim. His entry included this convincing portion: “I can be part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; the chance to be so close to the players that have dedicated and worked so hard for the sport I love. It will be an honor to give something back, be a part of history and share in the joy of the ultimate dream come true.”
Zeke has been playing hockey for seven years and collecting hockey cards for at least that long.
The son of George and Patty Estrada, Zeke stands 5’ 3” tall and weighs 123 pounds. He names current Montreal Canadiens’ center Scott Gomez, the first Latino player ever drafted (1998) by an NHL team, as his favorite player. “I’m very serious about one day hopefully playing in the NHL, so this is a dream come true for me,” he said.
“Zeke’s been a loyal customer of ours since we opened back in March of last year,” said OC Dugout owner Brian Nicalek. “I’m very excited that his entry was selected as the best overall. He’s a good kid and he deserves it.”