Toronto’s reign of combine dominance is over!
OK, bit dramatic there, but it’s slow and there is news to report — Buffalo has landed the NHL Scouting Combine for 2015 and ’16, the NHL confirmed on Monday.
“The NHL Combine is an essential event for all of our Member Clubs in advance of the Draft, which continues to grow in importance,” NHL VP of hockey ops Colin Campbell said in a statement. “The League has pushed to improve the Combine each year and the state-of-the-art facilities in Buffalo will allow us to further enhance the quality of the event for our teams, prospects and media.”
“Buffalo was heads and toes above everybody else in hosting the Combine.” — NHL’s Colin Campbell. #Sabres
— Mike Harrington (@BNHarrington) August 18, 2014
While a big score for Buffalo and the HarborCenter — the $172 million hockey/entertainment facility privately funded by Sabres owner Terry Pegula — the news doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Back in June, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed Buffalo was “vigorously pursuing” the combine and, as various outlets have suggested, Buffalo is also gunning to host the World Junior Hockey championships in 2018.
Per TSN, the NHL did offer its other teams an opportunity in June to submit bids for combine hosting duties. TSN also notes that the Sabres had proposed to host the event for at least the next three years.
Previously, the combine had been held inside a convention center in Toronto — which had no on-ice testing and not much room for fans to show up and attend. The HarborCenter layout is much more conducive for a large-scale event.