The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing, We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.
UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 23 at 3:36 p.m. by Nicholas Goss
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr has responded to the league's choice to cancel the 2013 All-Star Game on Friday (via Steve Zipay of Newsday on Twitter):
On Wednesday, the players presented a comprehensive proposal, once again moving in the owners’ direction in order to get the game back on the ice. The gap that remains on the core economic issues is $182 million. On Wednesday, Commissioner Bettman said the league is losing $18-20 million per day during the lockout, therefore two more weeks of cancelled games far exceeds the current economic gap. It makes the NHL’s announcement of further game cancellations, including the 2013 All-Star weekend, all the more unnecessary, and disappointing for all hockey fans, especially those in Columbus. The players remain ready to negotiate but we require a willing negotiating partner.
The lockout has resulted in the cancellation of 422 games from the 2012-13 regular-season schedule thus far.
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"The Blue Jackets are very disappointed for our fans that All-Star festivities will not be coming to our great city" - CBJ prez Mike Priest— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) November 23, 2012
Priest: "The NHL believes Columbus will be a great host and will work with us to bring the All-Star Celebration here as soon as possible."— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) November 23, 2012
This is sad news for the City of Columbus and the Blue Jackets franchise, which was supposed to host this year's event for the first time in January. Nationwide Arena is one of the finest buildings in the NHL and would have been a great place to showcase the league's top talent.
The Blue Jackets have missed the playoffs in 10 of their 11 seasons in the NHL and needed an event like this to generate more interest in the team and the NHL throughout their community.
This cancellation should also have a negative impact on the local economies in the Columbus area, which would have benefited from the extra business and revenue that coincide with hosting an All-Star Game.
Along with the All-Star Game, exciting events such as the All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Fantasy Draft have also been cancelled.
Columbus has never hosted the All-Star Game since entering the league in the 2000-01 season. There are seven NHL cities that haven't hosted an All-Star Game, including Nashville, Phoenix, Washington D.C., Newark, Anaheim, Winnipeg and Columbus.
During the 2004-05 lockout, the Atlanta Thrashers were unable to host the All-Star Game because the work stoppage resulted in the cancellation of the entire season. However, the Thrashers ultimately hosted the All-Star Game in 2008.
Even though the Blue Jackets cannot host this year's game, we can expect the league to schedule the event in Columbus in the near future.