CONSOL Energy Center, the rink that saved hockey in Pittsburgh, has added another NHL signature event to its resume – the 2012 NHL Draft.
“The CONSOL Energy Center is living up to its promise,” Morehouse said. “We said we’d have a world-class facility, and we do. We said we would host world-class events, and we are. We’re going to continue to try to attract more and more events.”
The luxurious, state-of-the-art venue is the perfect place to showcase the draft, one of the league’s signature events. It’s where the stars of tomorrow take the next step in their careers and it’s a day that every single teenager who is selected will never, ever forget.
“We talked about this when we were trying to keep the team in Pittsburgh and trying to get support for a new arena,” Morehouse explained. “The commissioner has come through with the promise of bringing the draft and other big events to Pittsburgh, and we’ve come through on the promise of bringing big concerts and other shows and other things here. So I think it’s been a collaborative process.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman alluded to the concern and anxiety felt a few short years ago by the fans when the Penguins’ future was in jeopardy and the franchise was in danger of relocating to a new location. But Mario Lemieux and his ownership group worked tirelessly to strike a deal with the city to keep the Penguins where they belonged by financing a new arena.
“I’m grateful that the team is here, is doing well and has this magnificent arena to play in,” Bettman said. “It’s also an arena that serves the city so well, because it’s not just about hockey. It’s about all the other events that are here and what it represents about Pittsburgh as a city.”
In addition to hosting marquee events in the sports and entertainment world, CONSOL Energy Center was voted the Best NHL Arena last season by readers of the Sports Business Journal and was a finalist for Facility of the Year at the 2011 Sports Business Awards.
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft is the latest great event to be awarded to the arena. The other marquee events in CONSOL Energy Center’s queue are the first and second rounds of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four Hockey Championship. And hopefully, there’s only more to come – which Morehouse playfully hinted at during the conference.
“The commissioner now knows since we hosted the Winter Classic last year and the draft next year, I’m going to be bugging him about the All-Star Game soon,” joked Morehouse. “We’ll be looking to get that too, Commissioner.”