NHL postpones draft, awards show and combine due to COVID-19

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

The NHL has postponed three events in June as the league continues to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHL Combine in Buffalo, NHL Awards in Las Vegas and NHL Draft in Montreal were all been postponed Wednesday. No new dates were announced.

In a release, the NHL adds it is still working on when and how the NHL Draft Lottery will take place. The lottery was originally scheduled for April 9 at the NHL Network studios in New Jersey.

The annual draft combine was scheduled to be held from June 1-6 at the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo. The event sees top prospects go through physical, off-ice testing and gives teams a chance to interview prospects before the draft.

The NHL Awards were scheduled for June 18 and have been in Las Vegas since 2009. The NHL did not indicate in its statement Wednesday whether the awards will be handed out this season. The last time the league did not have an award show was in 2012-13 due to the lockout shortening the season. That year, the award winners were announced throughout the Stanley Cup Final.

The NHL Draft was set for June 26-27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Montreal last hosted the draft in 2009 and Quebec-born forward Alexis Lafrenière is widely expected to be taken first overall.

“While today’s news is disappointing for fans of hockey in general and those here in Montreal in particular, this is the right decision to make under the circumstances,” France Margaret Belanger, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer for Groupe CH said in a statement. “I’m confident that the League will propose an alternative that will be in the best interest of all hockey fans.”


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