The Halifax Mooseheads want to host the QMJHL draft.
Mooseheads majority owner Bobby Smith told Metro Halifax yesterday he intends to submit a bid to host the 2011 draft. The showcase event, a miniature version of the NHL draft, has never been held at the Metro Centre, despite stops in Sydney last year and Moncton this coming weekend.
“We’d like to get the draft, for sure,” Smith said. “It’s a nice event to get the Quebec League front-and-centre in your market for a little while. It’s a big event for the league.”
Each team has a table on the draft floor, while a massive draft board behind the stage flashes three rounds of selections. Teams approach the stage to announce each first-round pick, and players are escorted down a red carpet under a spotlight before donning the cap and jersey of their new team.
General managers scurry around the draft floor and work their cellphones making trades, and scouts huddle together around their table discussing their next pick.
It’s a unique event outside of the NHL, as the Western Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League conduct their drafts on the Internet. The Hockey News is reportedly publishing a list that includes the QMJHL draft as one of 99 things a hardcore hockey fan must do before he or she dies.
Admission to the event is free for fans and the economic impact for the host city is estimated at $2 million.
“When I took over the Mooseheads, the one unnecessary event I saw on the schedule was the draft,” admitted Smith. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we do it on the Internet like the other two leagues?’ But as soon as I attended one, I said, ‘Wow, what a fabulous event. I hope we keep doing this forever.’”
The Drummondville Voltigeurs are hosting the 2010 draft after submitting the only bid. They also hosted it in 2007. More teams are reportedly interested in 2011.
But if Smith is denied, he won’t give up: “If that’s not our turn, we’ll put our name in for the next one.”