NHL 2019 Entry Draft: Hockey’s future stars descend on Vancouver
Athletes, media, team management and the Stanley Cup itself were all in Vancouver on Friday, where the city is gearing up to hold the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Round 1 of the draft is scheduled to take place at Rogers Arena at 5 p.m. Friday, while rounds 2 through 7 begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Fans who don’t already have a ticket but are hoping to catch a glimpse of future superstars are likely out of luck, unless they’re willing to spend some serious cash.
Tickets to the sold-out event, which initially went for under $30, were being advertised on resale sites like StubHub for as much as $170 on Friday.
WATCH: Vancouver Canucks will host NHL draft for third time at Rogers Arena
In Friday night’s event, the NHL’s 31 teams will each make their first pick. The New Jersey Devils have the first choice overall and are expected to pick elite centre Jack Hughes, the younger brother of the Canucks’ 2018 first-round pick, blueliner Quinn Hughes.
Vancouver is slated to pick 10th, but Canucks general manager Jim Benning said he’s confident the team can get a winner that far into the first round.
“It’s going to be interesting after that because I think whether teams pick the best player available or pick for need, it could fall in a lot of different ways,” Benning said.
“I feel like, at 10, we’re in a good position again and we’re going to end up with a player we really like.”
WATCH: How the Vancouver Canucks will celebrate 2019 NHL draft
Outside the arena, the event is shaping up to be big business for the city.
More than 20,000 hotel nights have been booked for the weekend, and analysts expect economic spinoffs in the millions of dollars — and a chance to market Vancouver to international media.
“We have great business events, but there’s not really the media following them,” said Michelle Collins of Sport Hosting Vancouver.
“That opportunity where sports tourism can really showcase the city really drives opportunities for impressions. And to visitors, this is why you need to come, especially when we’re having weather like this.”
Fans that don’t shell out for a ticket can still participate in the event at a free Party on the Plaza celebration at Rogers Arena’s North Plaza, which will include music, a photo booth and “Canucks legends.”
The event runs from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
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