NEW YORK — The National Hockey League announced today that the 2005 NHL Entry Draft events have been cancelled. The events had been scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26 at Corel Centre in Ottawa.
“In the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement, we are not able to conduct an Entry Draft in the traditional sense on the dates scheduled,” said Bill Daly, NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. “We apologize to the fans who had planned to attend this great event or participate in Draft parties both at their local NHL arenas and elsewhere. We apologize, as well, to the City of Ottawa, to the entire National Capital Region, and to everyone who already had put so much time and effort into creating a memorable weekend for the players and their families.”
No determination has been made as to when Ottawa will host an NHL Entry Draft, although the League is committed to bringing an Entry Draft to Ottawa as soon as is feasible.
“The city of Ottawa, Senators hockey fans and our corporate partners all were looking forward to showing the hockey world, and our future NHL stars, that ‘Hockey Country’ would have put on one of the best NHL Entry Drafts this June,” said Roy Mlakar, president and chief executive officer of the Ottawa Senators and Corel Centre. “We’re sorry that our faithful hockey community will not be able to share their enthusiasm this year, but we have shown our commitment to the NHL that the Ottawa Senators are looking forward to bringing the Entry Draft to the National Capital Region as soon as possible.”
NHL owners have locked out players since Sept. 15, 2004, and recently cancelled the entire 2004-05 season. The league still does not have a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players’ Association, which also throws into jeopardy the 2005-06 NHL season.