The Montreal Draft

The 60th NHL Draft will be held in Montreal for the 29th time which includes the last two years of virtual drafts and for this draft the ticketed public is welcome to attend at the Bell Centre this July 7th and 8th.

There are extenuating circumstances as to why Montreal has hosted so many NHL Drafts, such as the Drafts were always closed to the public and held in Montreal hotels or the NHL Montreal Office, and eventually the Montreal Forum from 1963 until 1979.   

Also worth noting is that Montreal hosted the draft just once in 2009 during a 26-year stretch beginning in 1993 through the 2019 seasons.

The NHL has been drafting over 200 players each season now since the 1970s with the amount almost tipping the scale at 300 at the turn of the Century, but now the drafting has been 210/217 range with this season upping the eligible players to two dozen over 200.

Buffalo Sabres GM Imlach would be turning over in his skates if he could see today’s Draft compared with the early drafts that he had to endure with prolonged procedures and unnecessary tediousness for each and every selection that took weeks to sort out.  

It was during the 1962-63 NHL Season that Mr. Campbell pushed forward the idea of a system of amateur drafting to afford all six teams an opportunity to draft a “star player” and the notorious “sponsorship system” eventually faded from existence by the end of the decade.  

The promise of a brighter future holds great interest to NHL teams and fans alike as each year a new crop of talented young players are selected and at times even offers a “generational player” that can shape a team into a winner.

Author: Buffalo Winter


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