Montreal Canadiens to host NHL Draft in 2020

NHL teams are gathered on the floor of the Bell Centre for day two of the 2009 NHL entry draft. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

The National Hockey League has gone back to its roots and selected the Montreal Canadiens to host next year’s entry draft for the first time since 2009.

Montreal is hosting the draft for the 27th time and the 2020 event will start on June 26.

“To think that the NHL Draft started in 1963 as a small gathering at a hotel ballroom in Montreal, makes it all the more exciting to announce that the 2020 edition of the Draft is coming back to its original city, Montreal, in a far grander fashion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement on Wednesday.

The NHL Draft took place in various Montreal hotels, league offices and the Montreal Forum from 1963 to 1984. It moved to Toronto in 1985 before shifting back to the Quebec city in 1986. It was hosted there again in 1988, ’92 and ’09.

The 2020 event could be a special one for top prospect Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanics, as the Saint-Eustache, Que., is projected to be the first-overall selection next year.

It will be the second-straight year the draft will take place in a Canadian city as Vancouver is hosting this year’s event, starting on Friday night.

France Margaret Bélanger, executive vice-president of commercial and corporate affairs with the Canadiens, said in a statement that hosting the event is a sign of confidence that Montreal remains a top NHL city.

“For many young hockey players, living this moment at the Bell Centre in Montreal will be an extraordinary experience,” she said.

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