Florida Panthers, BB&T Center to host 2015 NHL draft

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

BB&T Center will welcome the NHL for the draft in 2015. (Getty Images)
BB&T Center will welcome the NHL for the draft in 2015. (Getty Images)

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Connor McDavid's NHL career will begin in Sunrise, Fla. The NHL announced on Tuesday morning that the Florida Panthers will host the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26 and 27.

The Florida Panthers had been waiting on word that they would host the NHL draft, more or less being promised to host the NHL's annual summer event by 2016 after they got a new video screen installed at BB&T Center.

“On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization we are thrilled and honored to welcome the NHL Draft back to the BB&T Center and Broward County,” said Panthers President & CEO Michael R. Yormark. “The 2015 NHL Draft will be a spectacular event for this community on a number of levels, bringing significant economic impact and notoriety to Broward County while also giving our fans a glimpse of the future stars of the National Hockey League. I'd like to sincerely thank our local hoteliers, local businesses and the CVB for working closely with the NHL to make this incredible event a reality.”

This will be the second time the Panthers have played host to the draft, also holding it at the arena in Sunrise in 2001. In that year Ilya Kovalchuk went first to the Thrashers while the hometown Panthers drafted fourth and selected Stephen Weiss.

Why is it returning so soon? It was the NHL's way of backing up the Panthers in their quest for the new scoreboard, giving Broward County incentive with a money-generating event should the new scoreboard come, which it did.

It will be at this draft in Broward County where McDavid will almost assuredly be taken No. 1 overall as has been forecasted for a few years now. The Canadian phenom has been on the radar for a few years now, earning a special exemption to play in the OHL before he was of age and this past year he represented Canada at the World Juniors. His NHL dreams will be realized when his name is called in Sunrise.

The 2014 draft will be held in Philadelphia.

 
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