It's Official: Florida Panthers will host 2015 NHL Entry Draft

Major 2-day event expected to be a boon to local economy, furthering international reach of South Florida's hockey product.

The Panthers made good Tuesday on thinly-veiled rumors regarding the destination for the National Hockey League's 2015 Draft:

From the club's press release:

NEW YORK – The Florida Panthers® will host the 2015 NHL Draft™ at the Broward County-owned BB&T Center in Sunrise, the Florida Panthers, Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, and the National Hockey League announced today. Next year’s Draft will be held over two days, Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27, 2015. NHL club executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the NHL Draft floor while more than 15,000 fans and 500 print, television and radio media are expected to attend.

The 2015 event will mark the second time the Panthers and Broward County host the NHL Draft, as the Panthers played host to the 2001 NHL Draft, where Ilya Kovalchuk was selected first overall. The arena was also the home of the 2003 NHL® All-Star Game.

“The Draft is where the future of the NHL begins to take shape, and the BB&T Center is an ideal setting in which to enjoy the excitement as we welcome our next generation of stars,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Vinnie Viola, Doug Cifu, Michael Yormark, the Panthers' fans and the South Florida community will be outstanding hosts to our Clubs, our media and our incoming class of 2015 draftees.” (More)

I'll probably find a way to escape the home office for this one. Now, about that All-Star Game...

Surprised Sunrise was selected so quickly for an event only 18 months away? Not that the building can't hack it, only that the league came through on their promise in such a timely fashion...