New Brunswick

Saint John Sea Dogs awarded 2017 Quebec league draft

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's entry draft is coming to Saint John for the first time.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League event set for May 31 to June 3

Saint John Seadogs president Trevor Georgie. (Brian Chisholm)

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's entry draft is coming to Saint John for the first time.

Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL's commissioner, announced Monday the 2017 draft will be hosted by the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The event is scheduled from May 31 to June 3, with the draft itself taking place on June 3 at Harbour Station.

"Last year we had our annual league meetings and draft in Charlottetown which marked our return to the Maritime provinces and we like it a lot," Courteau said.

"I'm sure it's going to be a great success. Their background in the QMJ hockey league has been a key factor for our decision," he said.

The president of the Saint John Sea Dogs, Trevor Georgie, said the draft would be a showcasing party.

'It's a spectacle'

"You have 18 teams, the entire front offices, the general managers, coaches," he said. "People who typically have not come to Saint John before, visiting and spending a lot of time here."

"It's a week-long of hockey and hockey discussion. People that love the business side of hockey enjoy it. The people that love the human side of hockey will enjoy it.

"It's the same experience as the NHL draft, it's a spectacle," he said.  "You have the draft tables, the pageantry, the electricity. For many young men crossing that stage it's the biggest moment of their lives."

The draft allows the 18 teams in the league to stake their claim to talent. Players from Quebec and the Maritimes are eligible to be drafted in the calendar year they turn 16.

Victoria Clarke, the executive director of Discover Saint John, estimated the draft will have a $1.5 million economic impact in the city as it brings hundreds of hockey fans, families and prospects to the city.

Memorial Cup

Georgie said it is his goal to have Saint John host the Memorial Cup, but achieving it requires a lot of work.

"It's a major undertaking," he said. "It takes a lot of resources and a lot of support from hundreds of parties from across the city and across the league to pull something like that off."

Another factor to consider is the host team needs of be of a calibre that is competitive with the best major junior teams in the country, he said.

"There is a lot of moving parts in terms of being able to get a Memorial Cup to the city of Saint John but absolutely it's on our radar," Georgie said.