NEW YORK – The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at Bell Centre, Montreal Canadiens Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Gainey and the National Hockey League announced Tuesday. The Draft will be held over two days, Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27.
“The Montreal Canadiens are extremely proud to host the 2009 NHL Entry Draft,” said Canadiens President Pierre Boivin. “In December 2009, the Canadiens will become the first professional hockey team to celebrate a century of history. Thanks to the NHL, the Entry Draft is back in Montreal after 17 years. We are excited about this occasion, knowing the past history of the Draft and its origins in Montreal.”
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 1980 in front of more than 2,000 spectators.
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. Montreal again hosted the Draft in 1986, 1988 and 1992. 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 (2003), Raleigh, N.C. (2004), Ottawa (2005, 2008) and Columbus (2007).
The Montreal Canadiens Centennial will feature an array of events, initiatives and products. This will be an opportunity for Canadiens fans everywhere to reminisce about the most storied franchise in hockey and salute its legendary players. For the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, 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.
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 2009 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 2009 NHL Entry Draft will be televised by TSN, RDS, VERSUS and NHL Network. NHL Radio will provide coverage for radio stations across North America and NHL.com.