MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, general manager Bob Gainey and the NHL announced Tuesday.
The Draft will be held over two days (June 26 -27) at the Bell Centre and will coincide with the club’s Centennial celebration.
“In December 2009, the Canadiens will become the first professional hockey team to celebrate a century of history,” said Canadiens President Pierre Boivin said in a statement. “Thanks to the NHL, the Entry Draft is back in Montreal after 17 years. We are excited about this occasion, knowing the past history of the Draft and its origins in Montreal.”
The Entry Draft has grown significantly since the first such event was held in a hotel ballroom in Montreal in 1963. After 17 years of being conducted in various Montreal hotels and the League office in that city, the Draft sported a new look as the historic Montreal Forum played host to the event in 1980 in front of more than 2,000 spectators.
In 1985, the Draft was held outside Montreal for the first time as a crowd of 7,000 filled the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Montreal again hosted the Draft in 1986, 1988 and 1992.
A Top Prospects Preview, which provides hockey fans a glimpse of the young athletes expected to be selected by the 30 NHL clubs, also will be one of the highlight events held in conjunction with the Draft.