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In January 2004, the NHL announced that Atlanta would play host to the 2005 All-Star Game. The Thrashers were in the middle of their fifth season since joining the league, which would be their most successful to date.
The only concern? That dark cloud of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that hovered over the 2004-05 season. We know what happened, and the league ensured the Atlanta would not lose out if there were any sort of work stoppage. If the 2005 All-Star Game were to be canceled, the Thrashers would get the event in 2008.
A similar situation happened in 1995 when that lockout cost San Jose the All-Star Game that season. The Sharks would eventually host two years later.
That turned out to be a good contingency plan as Philips Arena played host in 2008, which saw the best introductions in All-Star Game history featuring The Hives.
It wasn’t until early November 2004 when the NHL finally canceled the 2005 All-Star Game due to the lockout. Preparations were already under way, which included pumping out merchandise to generate revenue and buzz for the event. A few pieces still remain out there if you’re interested in memorabilia from events that didn’t happen.
Stay warm in the fall with this pullover as you ponder who would have joined Ilya Kovalchuk as the Thrashers representatives. Marc Savard? Slava Kozlov? Patrik Stefan?
(For the record, Kovalchuk, Savard and Marian Hossa were the three Atlanta reps in 2008. GM Don Waddell served as an assistant coach for the Eastern Conference.)
Maybe you’re just a regular collector and pucks are your sort of thing.
Like a Super Bowl champion shirt featuring the losing team that gets shipped away, these are some unique items that are pretty rare. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, we could be seeing this happen again with 2021 All-Star Game merchandise. The Panthers are set to host, but with the 2020-21 schedule likely to be altered, the midseason event seems likely to be pushed back a season.
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• The 170-year-old hockey stick valued at $3.5 million