The NHL All-Star Game will be played in Los Angeles for the third time in league history in 2017, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.
The game will coincide with major milestones for the Los Angeles Kings as well as the league. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league also made its selection based on the renowned L.A. Live area surrounding the Staples Center, where the game will be hosted, per Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports:
Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski
Bettman said LA is city where "the building of an arena transformed the downtown." NHL All-Star Game in 2017. Kings' 50th anniv. NHL's 100th2016-1-30 20:51:41
The Toronto Maple Leafs were also in consideration for the event—it’s their 100th anniversary next season as well—but ultimately lost due to concerns the city wouldn’t be able to handle the scale of the All-Star Game and host the 17-game World Cup of Hockey next year, according to Frank Seravalli of TSN.
L.A. Live, home to the Staples Center, the Microsoft Theater and various clubs and restaurants, will serve as the platform for many of the festivities that will surround not only the game, but the league’s 100th anniversary.
Bettman said the accessibility of L.A. Live's amenities in one centralized location coupled with the strong relationships between venue owners were a major sell in the league’s decision, per Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times:
We have lots of things planned but putting our All-Star Game on the huge stage that L.A. affords us, we think will be an important part of the celebration. Couple that with the extraordinary organization that AEG has, both with the Kings and the Staples Center and the access we have to all the facilities at L.A. Live. We think this will be an exciting way to once again celebrate our sport.
L.A. Live had not yet been constructed when the Kings last hosted the All-Star Game at Staples Center in 2002. Los Angeles also hosted the event in 1981 at the Inglewood Forum, well before Wayne Gretzky joined the Kings and propelled Southern California interest in hockey that remains prevalent today.
Before L.A. Live, the Los Angeles downtown area was not necessarily in line with the glitz and glamour representation the city has become so well-known for.
But the development took a springboard with the Kings, Clippers and Lakers moving to Staples Center in 1999. Three of the major sports franchises downtown—an area the city was trying desperately to build up—propelled the development of L.A. Live, which is now a state-of-the-art facility perfect for events like the NHL All-Star Game.
Bettman’s announcement was a clear indicator the NHL will reward venues that have made a lasting impact on their surrounding cities—particularly if they house contenders such as the Kings, winners of the Stanley Cup twice in the past four seasons.