Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- The Sabres and the NHL announced on Monday that the NHL Combine will be held in Buffalo for the next two seasons.
Buffalo had been putting together its proposal for two years, but Gary Bettman told Colin Campbell that he must open it up to all the teams. Campbell said in the end, the two strongest bids were Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
Something new that Buffalo will bring to the Combine is Kaleida Health. They will provide all medical services and testing for the Combine.
Campbell is the senior vice president of NHL Hockey Operations. He was in Buffalo for the announcement and said, “Buffalo was heads and toes above everyone else to be able to host a Combine so we’re pleased to bring our Combine here.”
Sabres President Ted Black is excited about the direction the team is heading. He said, “Like our city, the Sabres franchise is also poised for a very bright future. Every day I tell our staff, 'Prepare for greatness' as we continue to rebuild this team into a championship franchise. We are going to be hosting this Combine at a very unique time in our history. We have three first round picks and two second round picks in the 2015 draft. These yet to be drafted Buffalo Sabres will join a prospect pool that is already recognized to be one of the best in the NHL. Like the city, our franchise is headed in the right direction, in fact we are no longer rebuilding, we’re just plain building right now.”
There was really no way to let fans in to watch the combine when it was in Toronto’s Convention Center. Campbell said, “As far as opening it up to the public, we haven’t in the past as one of the problems was our facilities where we had it, which is one of the reasons we’re here today. The facilities just weren’t adequate where we were at, but we aren’t sure where we’re going to go as far as fan participation, but there is a possibility of going down that road.” Buffalo fans will love Campbell’s next comment, “Buffalo beat the big metropolis of Toronto again.”
As far as if the ice surfaces will get a workout. Campbell said, “There was a combine committee with General Managers, assistant General Managers and heads of scouting departments and we’ve asked the scouts, ‘Do you want to see these players skate’ and around 70 to 75 percent don’t want to see a player skate in the Combine. They’ve seen them skate all winter long. Testing is important and the interviews are important so at this point in time, we’re not going to include the skating element.”