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INSIDE THE '06 DRAFT

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
The History of the Draft

Courtesy of NHL.com

This year the 2006 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Vancouver, BC on June 24 at the GM Place. The action begins at 6:00 PM (EST) with all seven rounds being conducted on one night. It is the 43rd anniversary of the 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.

To formally kickoff Newyorkislanders.com's draft coverage, here's a brief history lesson of how the draft became what it is today courtesy of NHL.com.

The 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.

Miscellaneous
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.

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