NHL Scouting Combine Moves to Buffalo

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After having a home in Toronto, Ont., for the past 16 years, the NHL Scouting Combine will make its way to Buffalo, N.Y., for the time being.

The National Hockey League and the Buffalo Sabres announced on Monday that the city of Buffalo will be the new home for the combine for at least 2015 and 2016.

The combine, which is generally held in May or early June, is a chance for NHL Draft prospects to showcase their talents in both physical and mental capacities. It is also a chance for scouts and hockey operations representatives from the NHL’s 30 member clubs to interview with players and see how they are not only as an athlete, but an individual off the ice.

HARBORCENTER, Buffalo’s new hockey complex that is to be completed soon, will be used throughout the combine, as well as the Sabres’ home arena, the First Niagara Center. The two facilities are located across the street from each other in downtown Buffalo.

Colin Cambell, NHL’s senior executive vice president of hockey operations, said that they’ve been influenced by Buffalo’s strive to contribute to the development of hockey, and HARBORCENTER will be a big part of the combine’s potential success for at least the next two years.

“The NHL Combine is an essential event for all of our Member Clubs in advance of the Draft, which continues to grow in importance,” Campbell said in a press conference. “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.”

HARBORCENTER’s President John Koelmel said that they facility was built with the thoughts of holding such events like the NHL Scouting Combine, and he is confident that its amenities will add to the experience for the league and its participants.

The Sabres’ goal has always been to continue to develop the city into becoming a hot-bed for hockey players to develop and grow up, and Sabres President Ted Black said that since new ownership came in town in 2011, they have “made it a goal of this organization to create an environment that is ideal for hosting highly visible events like the Combine.”

Buffalo, set to have three first-round draft picks after trades with the Islanders and Blues last season, will be hosting potential 2015 first-overall picks in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel when the combine comes around.

“We’ve had our eye on hosting the Combine for quite some time and we are thrilled that it will be coming to Buffalo,” Black said in a press conference. “We are certainly ready to meet that challenge. All of our resources will be in place to ensure a successful event for the league and we’re proud to have the next wave of NHL players pass through Buffalo.”

Alex Busch | News Cult