The Blackhawks have hosted a few events in recent history, including a Winter Classic and a Stadium Series game.
In a year and a half, the NHL’s centennial year, they’ll add a draft to that list.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman formally announced Thursday afternoon that the Blackhawks are hosting the 2017 NHL draft. The two-day event, which will be June 23-24 of 2017, will be held at the United Center.
It’s the first time in franchise history the Blackhawks will host an NHL draft.
“It’s a big day for our franchise a big day for our fans. It’s always fun to bring these jewel events to Chicago,” team president John McDonough said during Thursday’s press conference. “We know the impact they have on our fan base. When we got the [Winter Classic] in 2009 that was a lightning rod forthis franchise. We want this event to be entertaining, we want it to be innovative and we want it to be memorable. The NHL draft isn’t just a symbol of the future, it also provides a snapshot of how important it’s been to the Blackhawks over the years.”
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The announcement comes one day after city council approved construction of the Blackhawks’ new practice facility, which will open in the fall of 2018.
Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz thanked mayor Rahm Emanuel, “who showed the perseverance of a mother in law in bringing the draft to Chicago.”
The Blackhawks have been a part of several high-profile NHL eventsthese last few seasons, beginning with that 2009 Winter Classic they hosted at Wrigley Field. They also hosted a Stadium Series game at Soldier Field in March of 2014.