The league announced that the 2022 NHL Draft will be at the Bell Centre in Montreal on July 7-8. NHL officials made the announcement on Friday morning. It will be the first time the draft is being held outside of the NHL Network Studios since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) September 17, 2021
2022 NHL Draft to Montreal
Montreal gets to hold the draft for the first since 2009 and second time since 1992. The city was the main hub of the draft since 1963 until 1984. Locations like the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and the Montreal Forum held the draft until it went to various locations in the mid 1980s.
It’s also another sign of a return to normalcy. The current global health situation forced the draft to be held at the NHL Network Studios in Secaucus, N.J. League officials wanted to limit travel and keeping the draft remote served that purpose.
Bell Centre was slated to host the 2020 NHL Draft, but the coronavirus shutting down international borders forced the move to a remote draft. Those drafts were conducted via conference call.
What it Means
Things might slowly be getting back to normal. No one knows if the pandemic will be completely contained, but the league’s players are 98-percent vaccinated. NHL officials have taken a hard line on trying to limit the virus. The Bell Centre is approved for a limited capacity of fans and there’s hope it can be increased soon.
Draft weekend is a big occasion and it felt like something was missing when top picks Alexis Lafreniere and Owen Power weren’t able to pose with Commissioner Gary Betttman in front of a live crowd. Likely top selection Shane Wright will likely get that honour in front of a passionate Bell Centre crowd.
The late draft dates are due to the season ending later thanks to participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.