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Monday, October 13, 2014
Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black, left, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman discuss the Sabres hosting the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. (HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP PHOTOGRAPHER)


BUFFALO -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman annouced this afternoon that the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Sabres would host the 2016 NHL Entry Draft on June 24 and 25, 2016 at First Niagara Center.

League executives, scouts and coaches will be present for the draft, as will more 15,000 fans and hundreds of print, television, radio and digital media, according to the NHL.

The 2016 event will mark the third time the Sabres and the city of Buffalo host the NHL Draft, and the second time the event will be at the First Niagara Center. The Draft was held at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in 1991, when Eric Lindros was selected first overall. The last time the Draft was in Buffalo, in 1998, Vincent Lecavalier was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

 "Awarding the 2016 National Hockey League Draft to Buffalo honors the passion of its fans for our sport and reflects the commitment of Terry and Kim Pegula to the Sabres and to Buffalo," Bettman said. "We are delighted our fans will have the opportunity to welcome the incoming class of outstanding players at First Niagara Center, which is one of the hockey world's top event destinations."

 "This is yet another proud day for our organization and Western New York," said Sabres president Ted Black. "The NHL Draft represents the league's bright future and no place has a brighter hockey future than Buffalo. We're eager to work with the NHL to showcase its next generation of players and provide a first-class venue for one of the hockey world's premier events."

There was some speculation as to what today's announcement might be. The Sabres are already hosting the NHL Combine in both 2015 and 2016. The Combine showcases the top draft-eligible prospects who may enter the league. Rumors have swirled the Buffalo sports landscape that Buffalo may host an upcoming NHL All-Star Game.

Bettman said in this afternoon's press conference that if Buffalo were to submit an application to host an All-Star Game, it would be favorable looked up -- but no such applicatioin had been received.

Black said one would be forthcoming.

Bettman was also asked if Buffalo might host another Winter Classic outdoor game, which Bettman also said was a good prospect, especially with Sabres' owner Terry Pegula's recent purchase of the Buffalo Bills.

Pegula and his wife Kim were both in attendance at the press conference, as was Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

RELATED: The NHL Draft has an effect on the local hockey scene. See how.

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