PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the National Hockey League chose Pittsburgh for its next hockey draft, Bev Morrow-Jones of VisitPittsburgh couldn’t resist doing a little dance of joy.
“You’re obviously going to see the results of the draft on TV,” she told KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano. “There’s going to be conversation about it online. People will be blogging. People will be tweeting, and what are they going to say? ‘In Pittsburgh today, in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow, the NHL draft.’”
All that translates into people coming to Pittsburgh next June and spending money.
“We will be bringing 17,000 people to Pittsburgh with an economic impact of $9.1 million,” added Morrow-Jones.
Restaurants and bars like the Souper Bowl near the Consol Energy Center say they are excited about the NHL draft.
“Hockey fans do drink. Hockey fans have a good time – it’s definitely our favorite crowd when the hockey fans are here,” added Jessica Santavy of the Souper Bowl.
Finding accommodations for 17,000 people guarantees booked hotels around the region, like the Cambria Suites next to the Consol. Manager Mark DeIntinis has been to hockey drafts.
“It’s a good experience, it’s fun and like I said, it really should be nothing but good for this area,” he said.
So when should visitors book a room?
“If you want to be close to everything, I think you need to get your calls in today or tomorrow,” DeIntinis added.
Obviously, it’s hard to predict in October what the impact will be of a hockey draft at the Consol Energy Center next June.
Folks in St. Paul, which hosted the last draft, said they made at least $10 million. People in Pittsburgh hope they can do even better.