NHL creates marquee event in Vegas

Updated: January 24, 2009, 10:13 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

The NHL will indeed be taking their annual awards ceremony from downtown Toronto to the Las Vegas Strip.

A league source tells ESPN.com that plans are now coming into focus for the awards show to make its first visit to Las Vegas on June 18, shortly after the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and before the NHL draft in Montreal.

The ceremony is expected to be hosted by the Palms Casino and Resort.

Along with the show itself, former NHL greats Pat LaFontaine and Luc Robitaille will put together teams for a celebrity charity hockey game.

The NHL Players' Association will also hold its annual North American summer meetings in Las Vegas around the awards show as the league tries to turn it into a marquee event.

The NHL has long been rumored to be interested in exploring the idea of a franchise in the gambling mecca. Perhaps moving the awards show there will give a sense of what draw the sport might have in Vegas.

One NHL executive told ESPN.com there is no downside to moving the show to the gaming center. "It's all up-side," he said.

Scott Burnside is a senior NHL writer for ESPN.com.