NHL All-Star Game: 10 Cities That Could Host a Future All-Star Weekend
The NHL All-Star Game is one of the highlights of the hockey calendar every year. The weekend celebration of the game and its talent has become a fan favorite, and cities everywhere are scrambling for their chance to host this marquee event.
The league has announced that the next All-Star Game will be hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, so with that in mind, what other cities could possibly be future hosts of an All-Star Game?
Could an All-Star Game be coming to your team's home arena soon? Read and find out.
An extremely passionate fanbase has made the NHL's return to the city very successful thus far, so there will be no shortage of fans getting to the event and making the festivities lively. Plus what better way to celebrate the game than in one of its most successful cities?
The MTS Center is the smallest building in the NHL and this will make tickets to both the skills competition and the All-Star Game itself very difficult to come by. Likewise, the weather in January in Winnipeg isn't usually all that hospitable, making many of the outdoor attractions a little less appealing.
With the whole Phoenix Coyotes situation still up in the air, what better way for the NHL to test the waters in a new market than to give them a weekend dose of hockey.
Seattle has been rumored to be a possible NHL target should relocation have to occur, and the city, known for its passionate fans for both the Seahawks and Seattle Sounders, would welcome the league. Plus, why not experiment with bringing the All-Star Game to a neutral location to spread the sport to new fans?
Seattle is very close to NHL markets in Vancouver and San Jose, so being close enough for traveling fans isn't too big an issue either.
The fanbase in Seattle is untested with NHL action, though the Washington market does support two WHL teams (Everett Silvertips and the Seattle Thunderbirds).
The KeyArena, where a game would most likely be played, is a very small venue with a capacity for only around 11,000 spectators. Additionally, the spectator viewing in the building isn't the greatest.
If the league is looking to make up for some of the losses it has incurred from owning the Phoenix Coyotes, what better way than to bring the All-Star Game to the city of Glendale.
The arena is large and hosting one of the league's signature annual events would be a fantastic way to perhaps help boost the team's weak fanbase.
Plus the weather in Arizona is usually beautiful in January, making a trip to the All-Star Game a great escape for traveling fans from colder, more bitter areas.
Arizona sports fans are extremely apathetic toward mediocre teams and this has hit the Coyotes hard, perhaps harder than any of the other teams in the market.
Additionally, Phoenix is a very great distance from most of the other NHL franchises, making it a pretty significant trek for any traveling fans to get to the game. And perhaps the biggest con, the team might not even be in Phoenix past this season.
Alexander Ovechkin's influence, along with the team's recent stretch of success, has turned the capital city of the United States into a hockey hotbed and the Verizon Center into an extremely loud, red-clad fortress (just ask the New York Rangers).
Fans will be pouring out to get in on the action, particularly if their hometown heroes like Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin are selected to the game.
Washington D.C. is a rather compact city without a lot of room to host major events like an All-Star Weekend that would likely require street closures and other difficulties for citizens of the city.
Security would also be an issue as a host of tourists would be pouring into one of the most security-tight cities in the nation.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The NHL knows it already has a foot in the door to this market and intends to capitalize on it by announcing the NHL awards show will continue to return to Las Vegas for at least the next three years.
Logically, why not throw them an even bigger bone and give them the All-Star Game? They already have a proven arena at the MGM Grand, which hosts the Frozen Fury preseason game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche every year.
The weather is usually fantastic in January (usually sunny and in the 70s), and there is certainly no shortage of tourist draws in the city that would benefit from the All-Star Weekend festivities.
Much like Seattle, Las Vegas is a mostly untested market when it comes to the NHL, so predicting how well fans will receive the game is a bit of a toss-up.
Las Vegas has also been hit extremely hard by the economic recession, so getting fans to come out to such a prestigious event might be a little difficult considering the circumstances of global economics.
Likewise, Vegas is a pretty significant distance away from all but about three NHL markets (Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix), making travel a little more burdensome.
The Consol Energy Center is currently the NHL's newest arena, and the state-of-the-art facilities would be a fantastic place to host one of the league's premiere events.
Sidney Crosby's arrival, combined with the 2009 Stanley Cup championship, has made the Steel City absolutely crazy for hockey. If there was ever a year for Crosby to be an All-Star Game captain, what better time than to make it the year the game was played in Pittsburgh?
Really the only negative I can think of is the size of the Consol Energy Center's 18,387-seat capacity, which even that isn't too bad really. Other than that, Pittsburgh has hosted the game before, the last time in 1990.
Sunshine, palm trees and very warm temperatures are what you can more or less anticipate if the NHL decides to bring the All-Star Game back to southern California.
The league has already held an extremely successful All-Star weekend in Los Angeles in 2002 as well as a successful Entry Draft in 2010, and much of that success will likely be duplicated just a few additional miles south on the I-5 freeway.
Three additional NHL markets are easily within reach of Anaheim (Los Angeles, San Jose and Phoenix) and tourist buses from Vancouver are not at all uncommon. Additionally, Disneyland, a world-renowned tourist attraction, is located just minutes away.
The 17,172-seating capacity is one of the smallest in the NHL, making tickets a little tougher to come by. And much like many of the Western Conference hosts, the Southern California location is a significant distance away from most NHL markets, making travel more difficult.
Likewise, the Pacific time zone will make the game a little more unfriendly to television markets.
With its cowboy-esque culture combined with their passion for their Flames, the hockey-crazy city of Calgary is truly a one-of-a-kind place to visit.
Calgary is no stranger to huge events, hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics as well as the NHL All-Star Game in 1980. The Scotiabank Saddledome is one of the most unique buildings in the league (with definitely one of the best goal horns) and would provide a spectacular venue for the game. Combined with the adjacent Stampede Park, the city screams "perfect place" for the All-Star Game.
As with any Canadian city in winter, extremely cold temperatures, significant snowfall and other winter weather hazards are distinct possibilities, but other than that Calgary seems like a pretty swell place for a game.
The city that calls itself "Hockeytown" definitely lives up to its billing, and the Joe Louis Arena has become known as one of the most feared arenas in the league today. The fans are extremely passionate and the city is no stranger to the game, as local college hockey teams have also been supported by the local following.
The building known simply as "The Joe" is also one of the most historic buildings in the league, so hosting would be a great way to pay homage to the league's history through an All-Star Weekend. Detroit is also close to a number of NHL markets, including Pittsburgh, Chicago, Columbus and Toronto.
Similar to Las Vegas, Detroit has fallen on hard times economically due to the recent financial slump. Also, crime rates in Detroit are still extremely high, making security at an event this big an issue that would have to be dealt with.
What better place to put an All-Star Game than in the city well-regarded as the "Center of the Hockey Universe?" Passionate fans, a city that lives for the game and close proximity to several NHL markets make it a near-perfect place to host the game.
Toronto is well-equipped to deal with massive crowds for Maple Leafs games, with 13,000 walking-distance parking spaces and a connection to the city's subway system. Likewise, the 18,819 capacity offers a very high number of tickets for a great atmosphere for the game.
Frigid temperatures could discourage outdoor activities around the city during the All-Star Weekend. Toronto has also hosted the game relatively recently (2000), meaning the NHL would be making a rather speedy return to the city.
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