OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will get their chance to host an NHL Entry Draft after all.
After the labor dispute wiped out the Senators' chance to host this year's event, the team on Wednesday was awarded the privilege of holding the 2008 Draft at the Corel Centre.
On March 24, commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the 2005 Draft due to the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement. After last Friday's ratification of a six-year deal, Bettman
announced the draft would take place Saturday in Ottawa, but at the Westin Hotel instead of the Senators' home arena.
"Since this year's Entry Draft had to be restructured and
streamlined, we want to return to Ottawa for a full and complete
Entry Draft," Bettman said. "We know the Senators and Hockey
Country will do an outstanding job of hosting all the exciting
activities that provide so much enjoyment for our fans, and,
therefore, we will be back in 2008."
"The city of Ottawa is extremely pleased to be partnering with
the Ottawa Senators and the National Hockey League to bring the
NHL Entry Draft back to our city in 2008," Ottawa mayor Bob
Chiarelli said. "We welcome the significant economic benefit
that the Entry Draft will bring to our city and the
international attention and focus that comes with hosting this
great event. We look forward to hosting the world and
showcasing our great city, its facilities and our citizens."
More than 10,000 fans and 500 media members are expected to be
present at the 2008 Draft, which will take place from June
21-22. The first three rounds will take place on the first day,
while the final six will be held the following day.
"We are extremely pleased that the NHL has recognized the
anticipation and excitement that Hockey Country fans had in
having an NHL Entry Draft come to Ottawa, and in giving us the
great opportunity to host another so soon," Senators owner
Eugene Melnyk said. "The draft is a significant event on the
NHL calendar, and we're proud to welcome it this weekend. But a
full-scale four-day event will truly showcase the city of
Ottawa and the deep passion our community has for the game of
In addition to the actual draft, Ottawa also will host several
public events in the two days leading in. The festivities will
include the GM Sens Street Tour and a chance for fans to see the
top-rated prospects expected to be drafted.