Blue Jackets will host 2007 entry draft

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- One of the NHL's newest cities will host next year's draft.

The NHL announced Tuesday the June 23, 2007, entry draft will be held at Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are in their fifth year.

"The entry draft is one of the most important events on our calendar, as it marks the culmination of one season and casts all eyes toward the bright future that awaits," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.

More than 10,000 fans are expected for the draft, along with 500 print, television and radio media personnel. Blue Jackets officials
said the event would likely draw around 3,000 visitors to the city and account for approximately $3 million in visitor spending.

The U.S. women's Olympic hockey team beat Canada 2-1 in an exhibition match in Columbus last November. In August 2004, the city held the training camp for the U.S. men's team competing in the World Cup of Hockey, including exhibition games against Canada and Russia.