Chicago to Host NHL Draft for First Time in 2017

It will be the first time Chicago has hosted the NHL Entry Draft in the event's 53-year history

The 2017 NHL draft is coming to Chicago for the first time. 

The news was announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at the United Center Thursday afternoon. 

“The energy and passion Chicago has for the Blackhawks makes United Center the ideal setting for the 2017 NHL Draft," Bettman said. “The Draft will be one of the central moments of our Centennial, and the NHL family is looking forward to bringing this signature event to Chicago for the first time.”

The draft will take place on June 23 and 24 in Chicago, Bettman said. 

The dates are symbolic for the Blackhawks, with June 24, 2013 being the night the team won their fifth Stanley Cup in team history and June 24, 2006 being the night the team drafted captain Jonathan Toews. 

It will be the first time Chicago has hosted the event in its 53-year history. 

The NHL Entry Draft is held every year in the months after the season ends, and has rotated around cities in the league since the first event 1963. It became a public event for the first time in 1980.

"The NHL draft is not only a symbol of the future, which it is, it also provides a snapshot of how important this has been for the Blackhawks," said Hawks President John McDonough.

Chicago Mayor Emanuel revealed the idea of the draft coming to Chicago first sprouted while he was attending the Stanley Cup Finals in 2015, where the Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. 

“The NHL Draft is a world class event so it is only fitting that it will be held here in a world class city,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “Considering the NHL’s global reach, hosting the Draft here will further put Chicago on the global stage, attracting visitors from around the world and all of the economic opportunities for our city that they bring.” 

The draft won't be the only big hockey event coming to the United Center in 2017 with the NCAA's Frozen Four also coming to the venue that spring. 

This year's draft will be held June 24 and 25 in Buffalo, New York.

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