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Why The Draft Blowing Into Los Angeles Is A Big Thing

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LA Draft
LA Draft

ARTHUR:
Have you gotten your Draft tickets yet?

When the NHL comes to Staples Center in 17 days, it will be only the 13th time the Entry Draft has been held away from Canadian soil. Of course, the Draft has come to America four times this decade, but each time it was to visit a new-ish team/market: Sunrise, Florida (2001), Nashville, Tennesee (2003), Raleigh, North Carolina (2004), and Columbus, Ohio (2007). In fact, this is the first time since 1997 (Pittsburgh) that the NHL will hold the Draft in an American arena more than ten years old.

And that penchant for visiting recently built facilities was probably a factor in coming to Los Angeles, not for its decade old Staples Center but its surrounding $2.5 billion LA Live development. Does that mean LA can add itself to a Draft rotation the way the sunbelt hosts the Super Bowl? Historically, that seems unlikely. The Draft has never visited the same arena twice, and when the event is held in Minnesota next year, it will be only the second time in its history that it's revisited an American market, though Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center will probably lengthen that list soon enough.

The truth is, it's almost impossible to tell when we'll see another geographically local (and passport unnecessary) Draft. If coming back to Staples Center is not an option, then another California Draft is probably off the table, what with the Pond and Tank getting long in the tooth. Relatively local rinks like Jobing.com Arena, American Airlines Arena and even the Pepsi Center were built around the same time as the Philips Arena in Atlanta, the most recent expansion team the Draft has not visited, but you just never know. And so I ask you . . .

Have you gotten your Draft tickets yet?