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NHL Draft History

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
NHL Draft History

The 2005 NHL Entry Draft, held on July 30 in Ottawa, is the 42nd anniversary of an event that has grown from a small gathering of hockey executives to a spectacle anticipated by hundreds of thousands of hockey fans throughout the world.

Inception of the Amateur Draft
In an effort to eliminate the sponsorship of amateur teams and players by its member clubs, the National Hockey League began developing a drafting system that would provide each team with an equal opportunity to acquire amateur players.

"I'm trying to work out a system whereby all amateur players who will attain their 17th birthdays before August of each year will be available for drafting by NHL teams in the reverse order of the standing," said NHL President Clarence Campbell during the 1962-63 season. "We're ultimately hopeful it will produce a uniform opportunity for each team to acquire a star player."

The end result was the establishment of the NHL's Amateur Draft.

The first NHL Amateur Draft was held at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal on June 5, 1963. All amateur players, 17 years of age and older who were not already sponsored by an NHL club, were eligible to be drafted. Garry Monahan, a center from the St. Michael's Juveniles of Toronto, was selected first overall by the Montreal Canadiens.

The 1969 Draft marked the first year that the effects of NHL amateur sponsorship would not be seen, as every junior of qualifying age (20-years) was available for selection. Eighty-four players were selected that year, more than four times the average number of players chosen in each of the first six years of the Draft.

Entry Draft Replaces the Amateur Draft

In 1979, the name of the Draft was changed from "Amateur" to "Entry" to reflect the inclusion of young players eligible for selection who had played professionally in the now-defunct World Hockey Association.

Draft Eligibility

Beginning with the 1980 Entry Draft and continuing today, all 18, 19 and 20-year old North American and non-North American born players have been eligible to be drafted. In addition, non-North American players aged 21-years or older are eligible for claim. From 1987 to 1991, the selection of 18 and 19-year-old players was restricted to the first three rounds of the draft, unless the player met qualifying criteria that dealt with hockey experience in major junior, U.S. college and high school or European hockey. Starting with the 1992 Draft, those players were available in all rounds.

The first Draft held outside Montreal was in 1985, when the Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted the event attended by 7,000 fans.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Radio-Canada provided the first live network television coverage in both English and French in 1984, coverage in the United States was first provided by SportsChannel America in 1989.

This year's Entry Draft will be seen in Canada on TSN and in the United States on ESPN2.

French-language television coverage will be provided this year by Reseau des Sports (RDS).

Year Location Date Players Drafted
2007 Nationwide Arena, Columbus June 22-23 211
2006 GM Place, Vancouver June 24 213
2005 Sheraton Hotel, Ottawa July 30 230
2004 RBC Center, Raleigh, NC June 26-27 291
2003 Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville June 21-22 292
2002 Air Canada Centre, Toronto June 22-23 291
2001 National Car Rental Center, Sunrise, FL June 23-24 289
2000 Saddledome, Calgary June 24-25 293
1999 FleetCenter, Boston June 26 272
1998 Marine Midland Arena, Buffalo June 27 258
1997 Civic Arena, Pittsburgh June 21 246
1996 Kiel Center, St. Louis June 22 241
1995 Edmonton Coliseum July 28 234
1994 Hartford Civic Center June 28-29 286
1993 Le Colisee, Quebec June 26 286
1992 Montreal Forum June 20 264
1991 Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo June 22 264
1990 B.C. Place, Vancouver June 16 250
1989 Met Sports Center, Bloomington June 17 252
1988 Montreal Forum June 11 252
1987 Joe Louis Arena, Detroit June 13 252
1986 Montreal Forum June 21 252
1985 Toronto Convention Centre June 15 252
1984 Montreal Forum June 9 250
1983 Montreal Forum June 8 242
1982 Montreal Forum June 9 252
1981 Montreal Forum June 10 211
1980 Montreal Forum June 11 210
1979 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal August 9 126
1978 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 15 234
1977 NHL Montreal Office June 14 185
1976 NHL Montreal Office June 1 135
1975 NHL Montreal Office June 3 217
1974 NHL Montreal Office May 28 247
1973 Mount Royal Hotel, Montreal May 15 168
1972 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 8 152
1971 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 10 117
1970 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 11 115
1969 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 12 84
1968 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 13 24
1967 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 7 18
1966 Mount Royal Hotel, Montreal April 25 24
1965 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal April 27 11
1964 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 11 24
1963 Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal June 5 21
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