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New Jersey, Philadelphia to host next two Drafts

by Adam Kimelman

Hours before the 2012 NHL Draft started at the Consol Energy Center, the League announced the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers will host the 2013 and 2014 drafts, respectively.

The 2013 draft will be held June 28-29, 2013, at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. It will mark the first time the draft is held in the New York metropolitan area.

"I think it's great for the franchise and great for the city," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said.

"The Devils are pleased to be hosting the 2013 NHL Draft -- a first for Prudential Center," Devils chairman Jeff Vanderbeek said. "We appreciate the support from Commissioner [Gary] Bettman and the assistance of [New Jersey] Governor [Chris] Christie and [U.S.] Senator [Robert] Menendez in scoring the important event."

The building opened in 2007 and has hosted a number of major concerts and other events, including three games in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. It also has hosted a draft already -- the 2011 NBA draft was held there.

The 2014 NHL Draft will be held at the Flyers' home, the Wells Fargo Center. It's the latest big event to come to Philadelphia -- as the Flyers hosted the 2012 Winter Classic, and the 2014 Frozen Four will be played at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I think it's really important for us in Philadelphia," Flyers president Peter Luukko said. "People have always said we're a Flyers town and not a hockey town. It's a confirmation of where we've come as a true hockey market. If you look at [Philadelphia-area] youth hockey and where we've come, we've got kids playing in Canadian juniors, colleges, U.S. juniors, prep schools, local schools. There's a real interest in hockey. Our people in our community, they know who these players are. Hopefully we'll have a couple people from the market draft eligible and be picked [in 2014]."

Luukko said he expects the draft could bring as much as $30 million into the regional economy.

"The hotels will be full and the restaurants will be full," Luukko said. "People will be having a lot of fun. And it brings people from all over the world. You look at the draft, people are being drafted from all over the world, there's coverage from all over the world and that'll be great for Philadelphia as a destination city. When you look at it as a city that wants to attract visitors … we're in the hockey business, but the city is in the business of attracting people from all over the world."

Luukko also said this won't be the last big-ticket event for which the Flyers will bid.

"We'll still be bidding on future All-Star Games," Luukko said. "We still haven't had one yet in our facility. And we've made [Commissioner] Gary [Bettman] aware of that. We have been fortunate. It just goes to show you the nature of the market and the type of support that the market not only gives us locally but as a League. Our ratings are fantastic. And I know we'll have a sold-out crowd for the draft."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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