The NFL Draft came to Chicago last year for the first time in more than half a century, and it looks like another major American sports league is following suit.
The Blackhawks will hold a press conference later this afternoon with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce that Chicago will host the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. This would be the first time Chicago has hosted the NHL Draft, and it comes at a time when the sport's popularity is at its peak in the city. Traditionally the NHL holds the draft in the arena of the host city's team, so while a location for the draft has not been announced, it would likely take place at the United Center.
Although no further details have been released regarding draft festivities and scheduling, a look at what host cities have done in the past seems to indicate that the NHL might host additional fan events, similar to what the NFL did with its "Draft Town" setup, but on a smaller scale.
Appointing Chicago as the host city for the 2017 draft, which usually happens in late June, makes a lot of sense for both the city and the league. For Chicago, we get to further build on our reputation as an attractive option for major sports leagues to host their drafts. For the NHL, they get to host their big event during summer in one of the best cities in the world. Given the Blackhawks' recent playoff success, the league should already be plenty familiar with summer in Chicago.