Celine Dion Ignites NHL Draft at Las Vegas Sphere, Announces Canadiens Pick in Emotional Appearance

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In an unforgettable evening filled with surprise and emotion, esteemed Canadian singer Celine Dion helped kickstart the 2024 NHL Draft — marking the first-ever sporting event at the newly christened Las Vegas Sphere. As Friday night’s festivities unfurled, Dion, a veritable icon of Las Vegas who has been battling a rare, incurable neurological disease that’s temporarily derailed her illustrious singing career, announced the fifth overall selection on behalf of her beloved team—the Montreal Canadiens.

Cementing her allegiance to the Canadiens, contrary to her Las Vegas residency since 2003, the singer’s roots in Montreal, upon closer observation, run deep. Born a scant 15 miles northeast of Montreal, Dion is a lifelong Canadiens fan—a loyalty that germinated in her formative years and hasn’t waned one bit over the passage of time.

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Given the significance of the occasion—both for her and for the city—Dion was joined onstage at the Sphere by her son, 23-year-old René-Charles Dion Angélil. René-Charles, a rising voice in the music industry who performs under the name, RC Angélil, added a warm touch of intergenerational linkage to the proceedings.

Throughout the selection, the Sphere, famed for its unparalleled audio-visual capabilities, cast a rousing cavalcade of draft picks and team logos against the backdrop of its colossal dome—providing an unforgettable setting for the pinnacle gathering of the hockey world.

As Dion took hold of the microphone, handed an envelope holding the fate of one player, a moment of suspense bathed the room. She then broke the pause and announced the name “Ivan Demidov.” The 18-year-old Russian forward, visibly moved, embraced his loved ones and walked onstage to shake Dion’s hand—an unexpected twist that ignited a dubbing by NHL announcers as the “most dramatic draft announcement of all time.”

Underscoring the spectacle, the draft operated on another momentous level: It served as the inaugural event broadcast live from inside the Sphere; moreover, it was the first to be featured on the world’s largest LED screen, the Sphere’s lofty exterior Exosphere – marking yet another milestone for the event.

Adding poignant undertones to the happening, Dion’s appearance at the draft came hard on the heels of two watershed moments—the thrilling finale of the Stanley Cup and the release of a distressingly intimate Amazon Prime documentary titled “I Am: Celine Dion,” which presents a heartrending chronicle of her fight against stiff-person syndrome. This added layer of somberness brought depth to the night, while her appearance defying her health challenges to be part of the NHL draft resonated with newfound respect and admiration from the audience.