According to multiple reports, including one from Yahoo Sports, the Tampa Bay Lightning may soon be awarded the 2018 NHL All-Star Game.
The reports make sense, after the league confirmed back in December that Tampa was “in the mix” to host a big event.
“The city can house a world-class event,” NHL executive Steve Mayer told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s proving it time after time after time.”
But if the 2018 ASG goes to Tampa, that may be it for any hope of the NHL reconsidering its Olympics stance. The last three Olympic years (2006, 2010, 2014), there has been no All-Star Game.
Earlier today, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted the following in his “30 Thoughts” column:
One of the reasons some people still hold out hope for Olympic participation is that no All-Star Game has been set for next season. However, it does sound like there are plans for one. At this past season’s All-Star Weekend, it was believed the next one would be held in a Western Conference city, but there are rumblings the league went southeast instead. It will be announced with the full schedule.
Last year, the NHL released the full 2016-17 schedule on June 21.
So there’s still time to strike an Olympic deal, then presumably give the 2019 ASG to Tampa.
But the clock is most certainly ticking.