After some speculation, the official announcement came yesterday afternoon when NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, announced that the 2012 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center.
The upcoming draft will be held on June 22, 2011 (Round 1) at 7:00 PM (est.) and June 23, 2011 (Rounds 2 – 7) at 10:00 AM (est.). Further details about the draft and ticket distribution will be released at a later date.
“Today is about the great hockey tradition in this city,” Bettman said. “The increasing impact of grassroots hockey here in Pittsburgh and this spectacular venue to serve for the selection of our next generation of great players.”
This will be the second draft hosted by Pittsburgh since the first back in 1997 at the Civic Arena. Alot of impact players, some of which continue to play in the NHL today, came out of that draft. The top five being Joe Thornton (selected first by the Boston Bruins), Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks’ second pick), Olli Okinen (third overall by the Los Angeles Kings), Roberto Luongo, and Eric Brewer (drafted fourth and fifth, respectively, by the New York Islanders).
A few names being recognized as some of the top prospects for the 2012 NHL draft are defensemen Ryan Murray (WHL), Mathew Dumba (WHL), Morgan Reilly (WHL); and forwards Colton Sissons (WHL), Alex Galchenyuk (OHL), and Nail Yakupov (OHL).
According to NHL.com, there is no rest for the weary as far as the Penguins organization is concerned. Next they have their sights set on hosting an NHL All-Star game.
“I know we’re going to ask an awful lot,” Morehouse said. “We’re going to see if we can wear them down. In a few years, I think it’s a great place to host an All-Star game. It’s one of the premier facilities, if not the premier facility, in the NHL. And Pittsburgh has proven itself a great hockey town — we continue to lead U.S. teams in television ratings and merchandise sales and almost every other category. We’re very excited about the growth of hockey in Pittsburgh, and how it continues to grow.”
For more information and the latest news on the 2012 NHL draft up through when it’s held next June, visit NHL.com’s official draft page.