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Buffalo gets another boost as hockey market; selected to host NHL's draft in 2016

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Buffalo Sabres are already hosting the NHL's annual pre-draft scouting combine in each of the next two years. Now, it's adding the 2016 draft.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman formally announced Buffalo's selection at a news conference shortly before the Sabres' home game against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday afternoon.

It will mark the third time Buffalo will be home to the league's annual draft. The Sabres previously hosted the draft in 1991 and '98.

The draft is scheduled for June 24 and 25, 2016

Aside from Montreal, which was home to the draft from 1963-'84, Buffalo will become the NHL's first market to hold the event more than twice. Next year's draft will be held in Sunrise, Florida.

The timing of the announcement further boosts Buffalo's reputation as a major North American hockey market.

In August, the NHL selected Buffalo to host the next to rookie combines, which had previously been exclusively held in suburban Toronto. Buffalo has played host to two of the past three USA Hockey All-American Prospects games.

Next month, the Sabres' privately financed $172 million two-rink hockey/entertainment complex called HarborCenter is scheduled to open across the street from their downtown arena.

The Sabres have also said they intend to bid for the right to host the 2018 World Junior Hockey championships after previously hosting the event in 2011.

The selection of Buffalo to host the 2016 draft also builds on the growing buzz taking place in the city after Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula completed their purchase of the NFL Buffalo Bills last week.

Last month, Bettman praised the Pegulas for their commitment to western New York since purchasing the Sabres in February 2011.

"If you had to computer-generate new ownership for the Bills, you wouldn't do any better than the Pegulas," Bettman said. "They've been great NHL owners. They're passionate. They're committed and they invest their energy and their resources in everything they do. So I think it's going to be great if you're a Bills' fan."

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