The world’s worst kept secret has been confirmed this morning in a press conference in Ottawa. The 2012 All-Star Game will be headed to Canada’s capital city. Well, at least a city near Ottawa (the Senators play in Kanata, Ontario). Ottawa is the last of the Canadian cities to host an All-Star Game.
Gimmie some of the PR jingle talk Gary Bettman.
“The league is extremely pleased that Ottawa and Scotiabank Place will be home to the events of all-star weekend 2012,” said Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner. “Ottawa and the Senators have distinguished themselves in hosting the Stanley Cup final and two NHL entry drafts, and I have no doubt they will provide an outstanding welcome for our fans, guests, media and business partners.”
Having such a big event in Canada certainly adds a bit of spice to things. After all, hockey is kind of a big deal there still. For Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk though, this is a moment for him to wave the Sens banner high and cash in on an ownership promise he made when he bought the team in 2003.
Delivering the all-star game to Ottawa fulfilled a promise made by Melnyk when he bought the Senators franchise and the arena in 2003. Bettman had also suggested the club would be in line for an all-star game after it successfully played host to an NHL draft, which it has done twice previously — in 2005 at the Westin Ottawa and three years later at Scotiabank Place.
It’s fun when you can back up a campaign promise of sorts. While the Senators have been up and down in recent seasons going from the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, to out of the playoffs in 2009, to back into the playoffs in 2010, bringing the NHL’s big mid-season event to Ottawa is a great thing for Ottawa and Kanata respectively.
Now if only they could do something about Kanata being a more fun town for everyone to be in in the meantime, we’ll be in business. If you’re wondering which NHL cities haven’t hosted the All-Star Game, hang on to your seats because you might be surprised to know that Nashville, Phoenix/Glendale, Anaheim, and Columbus haven’t hosted the NHL’s biggest stars. I know, I was stunned too. Phoenix/Glendale was supposed to host the game in 2005 (at least we’re pretty sure they were) but got boned over by the lockout.