March 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Updated: March 14, 2017 9:17 pm

Gary Bettman wants NHL draft and all-star game in Edmonton, just not yet

WATCH ABOVE: When will the NHL Draft and All-Star game be held in Edmonton? Gary Bettman weighs in.


National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said he would like to see an NHL draft and all-star game held in Edmonton, but not right away.

“I hate to prognosticate and I even hate worse to overpromise and underdeliver,” Bettman said while in Edmonton Tuesday afternoon.

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“I believe that we should have a draft here. I believe that we should have an all-star game here but I would like to see the entire ICE District complete. Because when we do that and we show off Edmonton and ICE District to the world, I’d like it to be done.”

READ MORE: ‘I haven’t cheered that loud since 2006’: Oilers fans react to NHL draft lottery win

Bettman was in Edmonton for the day Tuesday, on his yearly visit to each of the NHL markets. It was the first time he’d toured Rogers Place since the arena opened last September.

“It’s great to be here to see how the ICE district is progressing and this arena is nothing short of phenomenal,” he said. “I was intimately involved with Daryl Katz and the mayor when this was on the drawing board… seeing it finished, the arena that is, it’s nothing short of phenomenal.

“The finishing touches, the way the building flows, the sightlines. Incredible. I can’t say enough good things about it.”

READ MORE: More than 4,300 kegs tapped at Rogers Place in first 6 months

Plus, Bettman said it’s nice to see the Edmonton Oilers performing better in their new home, suggesting there may be a connection between the two.

“It’s very exciting to see. It’s rewarding to see and it’s a little bit of fun to watch the team perform better than it has in the last few years in its first year in its new home. I don’t know, maybe somebody would say there’s a connection between the two.”

Watch below: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Rogers Place is “nothing short of phenomenal.” He also spoke about the state of the league. 

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Bettman said the entire ICE District will continue to be transformational for Edmonton in the decades to come. He even spoke briefly about Garth Brooks’ visit to Edmonton, saying the nine concerts he performed at Rogers Place in February had a huge economic impact on the city.

“The impact of everything that we’re witnessing, this building and the construction across the street, is an economic engine,” he said.

“You build this district around an arena and you get to build an arena because you have a professional sports team. This is a win-win for everybody.”

Watch below: Gary Bettman speaks about the economic impact Rogers Place is having on Edmonton.

Bettman will head to Calgary on Wednesday where he is scheduled to have breakfast with Ken King, president and CEO of the Calgary Flames. The Flames say Calgary is also in need of a new arena and while Bettman wouldn’t speak in detail about it, he said he might have meetings with city officials while in Calgary.

“Calgary, obviously, needs a new arena and hopefully this arena and this complex is inspiration.”

While a hot topic, Bettman was not asked about the involvement of NHL players in the 2018 Olympics.

READ MORE: 2018 Olympics still in doubt for NHL: ‘It’s very disruptive on the season’

Bettman will be in Vancouver on Thursday.

Watch below: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made his first visit to Rogers Place on Tuesday. Quinn Phillips was there and has this report.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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