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The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28-29, the NHL announced Tuesday.

The NHL will be the first sports League to make use of the $2.8 billion, 18,600-seat globe-shaped arena renowned for its immersive video and audio technology, including a 16K resolution wraparound interior LED screen and outdoor LED displays. It will also be the first event televised live from Sphere. 

The announcement was made by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery. 

“The NHL is proud to bring the first sports event and the first live television broadcast to Sphere,” said Steve Mayer, NHL senior executive vice president and chief content officer. “Together with the amazing team at Sphere, we plan to deliver an NHL Draft like no other, introducing the bright future of hockey in an innovative and exhilarating setting.”

The first round of the draft will be Friday, June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) with rounds 2-7 on Saturday, June 29 (11:30 ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1). NHL club executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the NHL Draft floor, while thousands of fans and hundreds of print, television and radio media are expected to attend.

“Sphere continues to establish itself as a premier destination for some of the most highly anticipated events in sports and entertainment,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, Marquee Events and Operations for MSG Entertainment, who oversees marquee events for Sphere. “We’re pleased to welcome the NHL Draft, and look forward to showcasing Sphere’s next-generation capabilities both in person and around the world via the first live television broadcast from the venue.”

Macklin Celebrini, a center with Boston University in Hockey East, is the projected No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft. The 17-year-old, the youngest player in NCAA Division I men's hockey this season, was second in the nation with 32 goals and third with 64 points in 38 games for Boston University. He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year and was the youngest player to win the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA men's hockey player.

Celebrini (6-foot, 190 pounds), No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2024 draft, had 14 more goals and 15 more points than the second-highest player in each category on his team.

"I'm pretty excited; having the draft in Vegas is going to be pretty cool," Celebrini told NHL.com. "I've never been to Vegas, and this will be my first time, so I'd look forward to that."

There is expected to be plenty of talent to choose from after Celebrini, including several high-end defensemen prospects. Among them are Michigan State freshman Artyom Levshunov (6-2, 208), No. 2 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, and University of Denver freshman Zeev Buium (6-0, 183; No. 4), who was named to the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team.

Additionally, Zayne Parekh (6-0, 179; No. 5) of Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League, Sam Dickinson (6-2, 199; No. 7) of London (OHL), and Anton Silayev (6-7, 211; No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters) of Torpedo in the Kontinental Hockey League have also earned greater attention down the stretch.

"It's an elite class with some really high-end players at forward and defense," said David Gregory of NHL Central Scouting.

The talented group of forwards includes right wing Ivan Demidov (5-11, 181; No. 2 international) of St. Petersburg in Russia's minor hockey league, center Cayden Lindstrom (6-3, 210; No. 3) of Medicine Hat (Western Hockey League), left wing Trevor Connelly (6-0, 156; No. 6) of Tri-City in the United States Hockey League, center Berkly Catton (5-10, 170; No. 8) of Spokane (WHL), and center Tij Iginla (6-0, 182; No. 9) of Kelowna (WHL).

"I honestly laughed when I first heard because that's crazy to think about, but I honestly can't wait," Catton said. "I think it's going to be a super surreal experience."

Cole Eiserman (6-0, 195; No. 12), a left wing with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team in the United States Hockey League, had 58 goals and 89 points in 57 games this season. He is committed to attend Boston University in 2024-25.

"When we heard the news of the draft possibly coming to Vegas, my brother sent it right to the group chat and they were pretty fired up," Eiserman said. "I don't know too much about the Sphere, so I'll probably have to look into it a little bit. I always like new stuff, so it's pretty cool. It'll be my first time to Vegas."

Sphere is located just off the Las Vegas Strip, less than three miles from T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights, and is owned by New York Rangers owner Jim Dolan.

“Hosting the 2024 NHL Draft at Sphere perfectly captures Las Vegas’ evolution as the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Las Vegas has been a hockey town since the puck dropped at the first Golden Knights game in 2017. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, we couldn’t be more thrilled that the NHL chose Las Vegas and this truly innovative venue to welcome its next generation of players.”

This will likely be the last NHL Draft to feature representatives from all 32 teams on the draft floor. Starting in 2025, the draft will be decentralized, with most team brass staying in their home markets so they can have access to their personnel in real time and clubs can host fan events. The draft-eligible prospects will likely gather in one location.

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