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NHL releases schedule of events to accompany draft in Buffalo

When the NHL Draft prospects arrive in Buffalo next week, they’ll spend a lot of time near the water.

The league has released its schedule of draft-related events, and as usual the players will get a good look at the area hosting the event. The festivities begin Wednesday afternoon when the top prospects head to Coca-Cola Field to take batting practice with the Bisons. The hitting display has become an annual rite. Players swung for the fences in major-league ballparks in Philadelphia and Miami the previous two years.

The prospects will host a clinic for area youth players Thursday morning in HarborCenter, then head to Niagara Falls for a ride on the Maid of the Mist. They will return to Buffalo for afternoon media availability in Erie Basin Marina.

The public can take part in the draft experience next Friday, with a Fan Fest scheduled to be held at Canalside. Buffalo, which is hosting the sold-out draft in First Niagara Center, will welcome crowds to a free first-round party outdoors from 4-10 p.m.

While teams select players inside the arena, fans can watch televised coverage on two large screens along with Sabres players and alumni. The first round begins at 7 p.m. The event will feature giveaways, interactive games, live music and a children’s zone. Local food trucks will also be on hand.

The draft ends June 25 with rounds two through seven in the arena. The picks start at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Sabres announced they will hold their annual development camp July 6-12. For the first time, it will be conducted entirely in HarborCenter.

An intrasquad scrimmage will be held July 9. Ticket details will be released at later date. The daily camp practices, which will feature 40 prospects, including this year's draft picks, will be open to the public.

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