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Thursday, June 13, 2024

NHL Cities Want To Host Draft, Awards Show Amid Nashville Takeover

  • Nashville is the first city to host the draft and awards together since 2006.
  • NHL tells FOS that two cities are already inquiring about replicating event in future.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Professional hockey is taking over Nashville this week. 

ESPN broadcasts the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET from a sold-out Bridgestone Arena — the culmination of an interesting experiment bringing the league’s annual awards show to the draft’s host city for the first time since 2006.

The NHL Awards are typically held in Las Vegas but took place Monday night at the Predators’ arena, kicking off a week of festivities including three nights of concerts and a Broadway shutdown.

NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer told Front Office Sports that representatives from two NHL cities came to the league after the awards and expressed interest in also hosting a future awards-draft combo. “We got some quick inquiries,” Mayer said.

Last year’s draft was held in Montreal, and the event visited different cities like Vancouver, Dallas, and Chicago before the pandemic. “We don’t have a formal bidding process in place on these events, but it could get to the point where it becomes that,” Mayer added, pointing to the dual-hosting model. “I don’t know whether or not we’re going to do it like this, but we did get some interest [Monday] night already.”

Mayer said any evaluation will begin right after the draft, which will see generational talent Connor Bedard go first overall to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The influx of new talent is an opportunity to “educate those in [the arena] and those watching at home about the players that are getting drafted,” Mayer said. “There’s a lot of responsibility in terms of trying to get our fans engaged on every level.”

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