More support for OHL to hold draft party

Neate Sager, Buzzing the Net
Yahoo! Sports

It's now officially a media chorus calling for the Ontario Hockey League to hold a formal draft, rather than doing it all over the Internet.

It's been written about here and now columnist Bill Walker is saying it could be a wedge to raise the league's profile in Toronto.

"The draft became an event for the media -- especially for the hordes that (Toronto-based) commissioner Dave Branch is always trying to appeal to

"The Toronto newspapers will generally have something in their sports sections on the draft regardless of how it's held. But when it's on the Internet, forget about a picture.

"And also forget about TV coverage.

It's all about the visuals for that medium and there's nothing quite so snooze worthy as a clip of a bunch of guys sitting around a computer screen." (Owen Sound Sun-Times)

There is a small irony a writer in Owen Sound, the league's smallest market, is putting the focus on the league's profile in Toronto. Our argument was that it could be a big event for a franchise such as Owen Sound.

Either way, the league is denying itself a golden opportunity. Draft day used to be for diehards, but it's mainstream. Part of that is probably that fantasy sports have demystified the process for most fans. TSN drew 119,000 viewers for its live coverage of the Canadian Football League's Canadian college draft on May 2, even though it was a fairly bares-bones broadcast.

It's best to be prescriptive. An invite-only draft (30-35 players and their agents and families) could be a winner, wherever it's held.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. You may contact him at

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