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Chicago Blackhawks to host 2017 NHL Draft at United Center

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For the first time in the draft's 53-year history it will be held in the Windy City.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Blackhawks on June 23-24 at the United Center in Chicago, the league announced Thursday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, team president John McDonough and mayor Rahm Emanuel were present at the press conference announcing the news. The 2017 event will be held during two days: Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24.

"The energy and passion Chicago has for the Blackhawks makes United Center the ideal setting for the 2017 NHL Draft," Bettman said in an official statement. "The Draft will be one of the central moments of our Centennial, and the NHL family is looking forward to bringing this signature event to Chicago for the first time."

It will mark the first time the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago will host the NHL Draft. For the first 21 years, the draft was held in Montreal before moving to the Toronto Convention Centre in 1985. The New York Rangers are now the last remaining original six team to not host the event.

"The NHL Draft is a world class event so it is only fitting that it will be held here in a world class city," Emanuel said in the statement. "Considering the NHL’s global reach, hosting the Draft here will further put Chicago on the global stage, attracting visitors from around the world and all of the economic opportunities for our city that they bring."

The 2016 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The 2016 event will be held June 24-25. It will be the third time the Sabres and the city of Buffalo will host the NHL Draft, and the second time the event will be at First Niagara Center. The Draft was held at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in 1991, when Eric Lindros was selected first overall.