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NHL Officially Names Pittsburgh As Host Of 2012 Entry Draft

The Consol Energy Center is already home to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In June, it'll also be home to both days of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the league announced Thursday. League commissioner Gary Bettman joined Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse, Penguins GM Ray Shero, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl at a news conference announcing the decision. When Pittsburgh last hosted the Draft--at the old Civic Arena in 1997--Pens megastar Sidney Crosby had not yet celebrated his 10th birthday.

The $321 million facility opened in 2010. The Draft affords Pittsburgh a chance to get excited about hockey, a sport that's on the rise in the Steel City. In last year's draft, four players who started their amateur careers in Pittsburgh were selected in the top 64, notably No. 15 overall selection J.T. Miller of the New York Rangers.

Tom McMillan, the Pens' vice president of communications, told that the Penguins will go all-out as they prepare to host the draft. "We're going to make that whole week of buildup to the draft a celebration of hockey so in Pittsburgh," he said. "It's going to be more than just the actual draft itself -- there's going to be focus on hockey for a full week, so that's a great thing."

The first round of the Draft is scheduled for June 22. Rounds two through seven will begin the following day. Pittsburgh will host the entire event.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.