Nationwide Arena welcomes hockey world to Columbus for Entry Draft
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Blue Jackets To Host 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft
Nationwide Arena welcomes hockey world to Columbus for Entry Draft

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets will host the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft at Nationwide Arena, Blue Jackets President and General Manager Doug MacLean and the NHL announced today. The draft will be held on Saturday, June 23, 2007.

"On behalf of our organization, led by John H. McConnell, the Blue Jackets are extremely proud and honored to be selected to host the 2007 Entry Draft at Nationwide Arena," said MacLean. "To have the Draft held here is a testament to the tremendous support of our fans who have proven without a shadow of a doubt that Columbus is becoming one of the premier hockey cities in the world."

Since making their NHL debut in 2000, the Blue Jackets have hosted a number of premier hockey events. In November 2005, the U.S. Women's Hockey Team held practices and a pre-Olympics game against arch-rival Canada at Nationwide Arena. In August 2004, Team USA held its training camp for the World Cup of Hockey Tournament and played two pre-tournament games against Canada and Russia in Columbus. In 2003, the club hosted NHL StreetFest featuring NHL Breakout The Championships, the world's largest outdoor off-ice hockey championships that attracted a record number participants and fans from across the United States and Canada. In 2002, a record crowd of over 4,000 attended the Seventh Annual Willie O'Ree All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena in support of the NHL's Diversity Task Force program.

"The Entry Draft is one of the most important events on our calendar, as it marks the culmination of one season and casts all eyes toward the bright future that awaits," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "We are extremely pleased the Blue Jackets have created the opportunity to share all the excitement with their fans."

In Columbus, NHL club executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the Entry Draft floor while over 10,000 fans and more than 500 print, television and radio media also are expected. The Draft is expected to attract approximately 3,000 visitors to the city, accounting for 4,500 room nights and approximately $3 million in visitor spending.

"On behalf of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and our entire hospitality industry, we look forward to welcoming the world to Columbus when we host the National Hockey League Entry Draft in Columbus in June 2007," said Linda Logan, Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director. "The Entry Draft will not only be a tremendous economic boost for our city, but it will also bring tremendous visibility and national media attention to our community, all of which is invaluable as we continue to promote Columbus as a premier sports destination in the United States."

A Top Prospects Preview, which provides hockey fans a glimpse of the young athletes expected to be selected by the 30 NHL clubs, also will be one of the highlight events held in conjunction with the 2007 Entry Draft. A full schedule of events, ticket distribution plans and other details pertaining to the Draft will be announced in the coming months.

The NHL Entry Draft has grown significantly since the first such event was held in a hotel ballroom in Montreal in 1963. After 17 years of being conducted in various Montreal hotels and the League office in that city, the Draft sported a new look as the historic Montreal Forum played host to the event in front of more than 2,000 spectators in 1980.

In 1985, the Entry Draft was held outside Montreal for the first time as a crowd of 7,000 filled the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Since then, the Draft events have been given an enthusiastic welcome in other cities across North America, including Detroit (1987), Bloomington, Minn. (1989), Vancouver (1990, 2006), Buffalo (1991 and 1998), Quebec City (1993), Hartford (1994), Edmonton (1995), St. Louis (1996), Pittsburgh (1997), Boston (1999), Calgary (2000), Sunrise, Fla. (2001), Toronto (2002), Nashville, Tenn. (2003), Raleigh, N.C. (2004) and Ottawa (2005).

NHL Entry Draft History Since 1969
Year Site First Overall Pick (Club)
1969 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal Rejean Houle (Montreal)
1970 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal Gilbert Perreault (Buffalo)
1971 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal Guy Lafleur (Montreal)
1972 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal Billy Harris (NY Islanders)
1973 Mount Royal Hotel, Montreal Denis Potvin (NY Islanders)
1974 NHL Montreal Office Greg Joly (Washington)
1975 NHL Montreal Office Mel Bridgman (Philadelphia)
1976 NHL Montreal Office Rick Green (Washington)
1977 NHL Montreal Office Dale McCourt (Detroit)
1978 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal Bobby Smith (Minnesota)
1979 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal Rob Ramage (Colorado)
1980 Montreal Forum Doug Wickenheiser (Montreal)
1981 Montreal Forum Dale Hawerchuk (Winnipeg)
1982 Montreal Forum Gord Kluzak (Boston)
1983 Montreal Forum Brian Lawton (Minnesota)
1984 Montreal Forum Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh)
1985 Metro Toronto Convention Centre Wendel Clark (Toronto)
1986 Montreal Forum Joe Murphy (Detroit)
1987 Joe Louis Arena, Detroit Pierre Turgeon (Buffalo)
1988 Montreal Forum Mike Modano (Minnesota)
1989 Met Sports Center, Bloomington Mats Sundin (Quebec)
1990 B.C. Place, Vancouver Owen Nolan (Quebec)
1991 Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo Eric Lindros (Quebec)
1992 Montreal Forum Roman Hamrlik (Tampa Bay)
1993 Colisee de Quebec Alexandre Daigle (Ottawa)
1994 Hartford Civic Center Ed Jovanovski (Florida)
1995 Edmonton Coliseum Bryan Berard (Ottawa)
1996 Kiel Center, St. Louis Chris Phillips (Ottawa)
1997 Civic Arena, Pittsburgh Joe Thornton (Boston)
1998 Marine Midland Arena, Buffalo Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay)
1999 FleetCenter, Boston Patrik Stefan (Atlanta)
2000 Saddledome, Calgary Rick DiPietro (NY Islanders)
2001 National Car Rental Center, Sunrise, FL Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta)
2002 Air Canada Centre, Toronto Rick Nash (Columbus)
2003 Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, TN Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh)
2004 Entertainment & Sports Arena, Raleigh, NC Alexander Ovechkin (Washington)
2005 Ottawa Westin Hotel, Ottawa Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
2006 General Motors Place, Vancouver TBD
2007 Nationwide Arena, Columbus TBD

Nationwide Arena welcomes hockey world to Columbus for Entry Draft
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