The Minnesota Wild will host the 2011 NHL® Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the Minnesota Wild and the National Hockey League announced today. The Entry Draft will be held over two days, Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25.Click here to watch the live press conference announcing the event coming to Xcel Energy Center.
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will be the second-ever held in the state of Minnesota and the first at Xcel Energy Center – a building home to 409 consecutive Wild sellouts including the game tonight against the Dallas Stars. The 1989 NHL Entry Draft took place at the Met Center in Bloomington. Minnesota has played host to other NHL signature events including the 1991 Stanley Cup® Final, the 1972 and 2004 NHL All-Star Games and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. The Xcel Energy Center has also hosted the 2002 Frozen Four, will host the 2011 Frozen Four and is home to the WCHA Final Five Tournament and the Minnesota State Boys’ and Girls’ High School Hockey Tournaments.
“The Draft is a signature event, and, as our League gets younger and younger, it offers a preview of the NHL's future,” said Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner. "The great fans in Minnesota will get a first-hand view of tomorrow's stars.”
“We are extremely excited to host the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center,” said Minnesota Wild Owner Craig Leipold. “The event will be a great opportunity for the State of Hockey to see the future stars of the NHL and to support the drafted players that were developed in Minnesota’s youth hockey associations and high schools. Hockey’s international spotlight will shine brightly on Xcel Energy Center and the City of Saint Paul.”
The NHL Entry Draft has grown significantly since the first such event was held in a Montreal hotel ballroom in 1963. In Minnesota, NHL club executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the Entry Draft floor while more than 10,000 fans and more than 500 print, television and radio media are expected. The 2010-11 season will be an exciting time for Minnesota fans, with the Wild beginning the regular season playing the Carolina Hurricanes in Helsinki, Finland.
The Entry Draft offers the opportunity for hockey fans to witness the beginning of the careers of the latest NHL stars. Recent overall No. 1 picks include Alex Ovechkin (Washington, 2004), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh, 2005), Erik Johnson (St. Louis, 2006), Patrick Kane (Chicago, 2007), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay, 2008), and John Tavares (NY Islanders, 2009).
In the last three NHL Entry Drafts (2007-09) there have been 42 players from the state of Minnesota selected, including 12 in the first two rounds. The Wild has selected six Minnesota natives in the NHL Entry Draft in team history: Nick Leddy (2009), Kyle Medvec
(2006), Chris Hickey (2006), A.J. Thelen (2004), Michael Erickson (2002) and Jake Riddle (2001). Of the team’s 78 total draft picks, 29 have played in a regular season NHL game including 26 with the Wild.
The 2010 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled for STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, June 25-26. For more historical information and past draft selections, visit www.nhl.com/draft
. Ticket distribution plans and other details pertaining to the 2011 Entry Draft will be announced at a later date.