THREE-DAY EVENT TO BRING INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION TO REGION
RALEIGH, NC (March 26, 2002) – Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League, today announced the Carolina Hurricanes, the Triangle region and the Entertainment & Sports Arena will play host to the 2004 NHL Entry Draft on June 25-27, 2004.
The three-day event involves all 30-member clubs and lasts nine rounds. The weekend includes a top prospects preview and hockey clinics. Additional fan friendly activities will be announced as the NHL Draft Weekend draws closer.
“We are thrilled to be coming to the Triangle for the NHL Entry Draft,” Bettman said. “Fans in Carolina are extremely passionate about the game. Bringing the Entry Draft here gives them an opportunity to see the next generation of outstanding NHL players, including future Hurricanes.”
Jim Cain, Carolina Hurricanes President and COO, added, “Commissioner Bettman’s announcement today is a well deserved tribute to our fans who have supported this team in record numbers in the past year. This means that all eyes in the hockey world will be focused on the Triangle in June of 2004. Even beyond the significant economic impact and the international TV audience, our hosting of the NHL Entry Draft will signify to the professional sports world and the international media that the Hurricanes have indeed found a permanent home in North Carolina.”
The economic impact of the NHL Draft could bring as much as $8 million to the Triangle. The event will utilize as many as 4,500 hotel nights and attract approximately 3,000 visitors to the region.
“This is a great opportunity for all of us to work together to showcase our great region,” said Jim Goodmon, chairman of the Friends of the Canes, the corporate group that supported the Triangle’s efforts to bring the Entry Draft and the NHL All-Star Game to the area.
The NHL Draft was held in Montreal hotels or offices for 17 years prior to 1980. In 1980, the draft moved to the Montreal Forum and was witnessed by more than 2,500 fans. The first draft held outside Montreal was in 1985, when the Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted the event, which was attended by 7,000 fans.
Since then, the draft has been held in Boston, Detroit, Vancouver and St. Louis. Last June, it was held in Sunrise, Fla., and this June, the draft will return to Toronto. In 2003, the draft will be held in Nashville.