The National Hockey League has announced that the 2015 and 2016 combines will be held in Buffalo, New York. The combine will be held at the First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, as well as the HarborCenter, which is set to open this fall.
The NHL combine is an annual event that allows prospects for that year’s upcoming draft to meet with potential teams, as well as have their mental and physical abilities assessed. Toronto has been the home of the combine since 1999, but to improve the experience for players, teams, and media, the event has been moved to Buffalo to take advantage of their state-of-the-art facilities.
The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to fund the combine, which takes financial stress off of the NHL, while providing publicity for the HarborCenter which will feature two full sized NHL rinks. Buffalo has played host to numerous major hockey events within the past few years including the 2011 World Junior Championship and USA Hockey’s inaugural All-American Prospects game in 2012 and will do so again in 2014 and 2015, and the HarborCenter is set to host the 2015 IPC World Sledge Hockey Championship and the World Women’s Under-18 Championship. Adding the NHL Combine to the mix will only further the development of hockey in Buffalo and encourage further support for the struggling Buffalo Sabres.
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, who are expected to be the top two picks at the 2015 NHL Draft, will be among the prospects to watch at next year’s combine. Sabres’ owners, Kim and Terry Pegula hope to create a stronger environment for hockey in Buffalo with the addition of the combine and the great young players that will be in attendance.