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Lightning Round: Final in-person NHL draft to be held in Las Vegas

Photo via David Vives via Unsplash

At least the league is going out with a bang. After a unanimous vote to discontinue in-person drafts starting in 2025, the league is finalizing details to hold the 2024 edition in the City of Sin, Las Vegas on June 28th and 29th. While there are plenty of arenas or hotel ballrooms they could hold it, it appears the league is looking to go a bit over the top and hold the event at The Sphere.

Yup, that big ol’ round ball that bills itself as “a world-first immersive destination” will play host to the final draft that will be attended to by all 32 general managers and their scouting staffs. Mr. Gary Bettman claims that the event will be “pretty dramatic”.

It’ll be interesting to see how a league that almost always finds a way to shoot itself in the foot utilizes the unique atmosphere that The Sphere offers. The venue offers a totally immersive experience and is currently hosting a U2 live music experience to be followed by four shows by Phish (you may want to ease back on the hallucinogenics if you plan on attending).

Starting with the 2025 draft, the experience will be decentralized with the general managers and their staffs conducting their picks from their home cities. Not only will it be logistically easier for them, they will be able to transition to free agency easier, and the team can hold fan events. At least that’s the line of reasoning that they’re feeding the public to justify the change.

Vegas, the franchise, would find a way to go over the top even if the draft was being held at an abandoned airplane hanger. Personally, I’m looking forward to what they pull off.

Lightning / NHL News

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