Buffalo to host NHL combine in 2015, 2016
City a 'natural fit,' says league vice-president Campbell
The NHL's pre-draft scouting combine will be held in Buffalo the next two seasons.
NHL vice-president Colin Campbell on Monday called Buffalo a "natural fit" in announcing the league's decision at a news conference with the Sabres.
The combine had been held outside Toronto, inside a convention centre that provided no on-ice testing and little room for fans.
The Pittsburgh Penguins also were finalists to host the combine, but Campbell said Buffalo was "heads and toes above everyone else."
Scouts, general managers and coaches from all 30 teams attend the NHL scouting combine to gain information on more than 100 prospects.
"We want every NHL player to have trained and played in western New York," Sabres president Ted Black said.
Two years ago, the Sabres began building a hockey/entertainment complex. The $172 million US HarborCenter, funded by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, is to open this fall. It will feature two rinks and a full-service hotel connected by a walkway to the team's downtown arena.
Campbell said the NHL does not plan to introduce on-ice testing or open the combine to the public in 2015. The league, however, will look into those options now that there is more space at HarborCenter. He added that Buffalo has a "good chance" of hosting the combine beyond 2016.
HarbourCenter will host the under-18 women's and sledge hockey world championships in 2015, as well as USA Hockey's annual All-American Prospects game.