The Buffalo Sabres will host the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagara Center, the Buffalo Sabres and the National Hockey League announced today. The Draft will be held over two days, Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, 2016. NHL club executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the NHL Draft floor while more than 15,000 fans and hundreds of print, television and radio media are expected to attend.
The 2016 event will mark the third time the Sabres and the city of Buffalo host the NHL Draft, and the second time the event will be at the First Niagara Center. The Draft was held at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in 1991, when Eric Lindros was selected first overall. The last time the Draft was in Buffalo, in 1998, Vincent Lecavalier was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Awarding the 2016 National Hockey League Draft to Buffalo honors the passion of its fans for our sport and reflects the commitment of Terry and Kim Pegula to the Sabres and to Buffalo," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We are delighted our fans will have the opportunity to welcome the incoming class of outstanding players at First Niagara Center, which is one of the hockey world's top event destinations."
"This is yet another proud day for our organization and Western New York," said Sabres president Ted Black. "The NHL Draft represents the league's bright future and no place has a brighter hockey future than Buffalo. We're eager to work with the NHL to showcase its next generation of players and provide a first-class venue for one of the hockey world's premier events."
Ticket distribution plans and other details pertaining to the 2016 NHL Draft will be announced at a later date.
The Draft offers the opportunity for hockey fans to witness the beginning of the careers of the latest NHL stars. Recent No. 1 overall picks include Alex Ovechkin (Washington, 2004), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh, 2005), Erik Johnson (St. Louis, 2006), Patrick Kane (Chicago, 2007), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay, 2008), John Tavares (NY Islanders, 2009), Taylor Hall (Edmonton, 2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton, 2011), Nail Yakupov (Edmonton, 2012), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado, 2013) and Aaron Ekblad (Florida, 2014).
The 2015 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27. For historical information and past draft selections, visit www.nhl.com/draft. Those wishing to use the official hashtag of the event should utilize #NHLDraft.