Thousands arrive in town as Buffalo is playing host for NHL Draft

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands of people from all over the globe arrived in Buffalo this week and on Friday, they gathered at Canalside ahead of the NHL Draft for the FanFest.

“With the draft we’ve noticed an influx of pepole coming into town,” said Kevin Glovak, the Food and Beverage Director for Pearl Street Brewery.

Around 16,000 fans are expected to go to First Niagara Center to watch the draft unfold.  Add on the players, coaches and owners and the city that bleeds blue and gold is seeing green.

“When we can host a big event like this in our destination and have an economic impact, it just plays into so many different  attributes,” said Patrick Kaler, the president for Visit Buffalo Niagara.

Kaler expects the financial impact from people staying at hotels, eating at local restaurants and taking in the activities to be around $9.2 million.

“That doesn’t include the fan base that might be coming in so the economic impact will be even greater.”

Kaler says 11,000 rooms have been rented around the city for the NHL Draft; that’s a quarter of all rooms available in the region.

“When people arrive to our destination, they get very excited about their experience,” said Kaler who he is frequently checking social media this weekend to follow what people are saying about the city as they stay.

“We gotta be on our A game,” said Glovak. “All these people are in from out of town and it’s all peole who will be back into town at some point.”

Glovak says Pearl Street has been packed all week with coaches, owners and GMs dining. He says they’re fully staffed this week as they expect business to be busier than usual.

“It’s actually great. There are the events we look forward to.”

And hosting events like this is something businesses and beyond hopes happens more frequently.

“That is just another tool in our toolbox that we’re able to say ‘this is what were capable of putting on’ and doing it very successfully,” said Kaler. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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