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The NHL Entry Draft is an annual meeting in which every franchise of the NHL systematically selects the rights to available amateur ice hockey players who meet draft eligibility requirements. The Entry Draft is held once every year, generally within two to three months after the conclusion of the previous season. During the draft, teams take turns selecting players from where they had last played.
The first NHL Entry Draft (then known as the 'NHL Amateur Draft') was held on June 5, 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec. In 1969, the rules were changed so that any amateur player under the age of 20 was eligible to be drafted. In 1979, the rules were again changed allowing players who had previously played professionally to be drafted (due to absorption of the World Hockey Association) and was renamed from 'NHL Amateur Draft' to 'NHL Entry Draft'. In 1980, the Entry Draft became a public event, and was held at the Montreal Forum. The first draft outside of Montreal was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, in 1985. Live television coverage of the draft began in 1984 when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation covered the event in both English and French for Canadian audiences.