Vancouver will play host to the 2019 National Hockey League draft.
The announcement was made Wednesday at Rogers Arena, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Canucks president Trevor Linden and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in attendance. The last Canadian city to host the event was Montreal, in 2009.
“The entire NHL family will gather here at Rogers Arena on June 21-22, 2019 to participate in what will be one of many highlights for the Canucks’ 50th anniversary season,” said Bettman.
He noted the economic impact for Vancouver could be $8M-$10M, said top prospects will conduct clinics and other activities around the city during the week leading up the draft. A to-be-determined legacy project will also be part of the festivities, said Bettman.
“We’re thrilled to be hosting hte 2019 NHL draft,” said Robertson. “As everone knows, Vancouver is very serious about our hockey and it is an honour to be hosting the future of the game.
He said with both the World Junior Hockey Championships and the draft being held in the city in 2019, it made for “a great statement for our love of the game and for young people playing game.”
Linden said the Canucks are excited to welcome the hockey world back to B.C.
“The draft is one of the biggest events on the NHL calendar and it seems to grow every year,” he said. “It’s just a really exciting day and a chance to build our organization. Our goal is to build a young, fast team that can compete for a championship again.”
Vancouver has hosted the draft twice before, in 2006 and 1990. The Canucks selected Austrian forward Michael Grabner from the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs with their first pick (14th overall) in 2006. Grabner played just 20 games for Vancouver before being dealt to the Florida Panthers in 2010. In 1990, the Canucks, selecting second overall, tabbed Czech forward Petr Nedved from the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
Nedved, coming off a 145-point season in Seattle, was chosen two picks ahead of future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jagr was still playing in the NHL as recently as this season at age 46, before being waived by the Calgary Flames.
The 2018 entry draft will be held in Dallas June 22-23.