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2012 NHL All-Star Game awarded to Ottawa

Sep 15, 2010, 11:43 AM EDT

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.

  1. NYRFTW - Sep 15, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    I went to Ottawa in 2008 to see the Rangers play. Awesome hockey town! The drive to the rink isn’t that bad it felt like it was about 25 minutes outside the city. I stayed right in Ottawa and had no problem getting to the rink in Kanata. At the time the public transportation was on strike, so i had to drive, but you can take public transportation from any hotel in Ottawa to the rink. There is so much parking and when the game was over I just got in my car and left. Waited in like two minutes of traffic instead of like an hour of traffic in a city like Philly. Luckily for me penn station is right below the garden, so I don’t have to worry about that kind of crap in NY. Ottawa deserves the game! I liked Ottawa better than Toronto or MTL. I will be flying to Alberta next year to see the Rangers play there.

  2. Chris - Sep 15, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Good article Joe, I have a few clarifications for you:
    Kanata, along with other suburbs, were amalgamated into Ottawa about 10 years ago. So you can say the arena is in Ottawa.
    “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.”
    All the festivities will be in downtown Ottawa, where the soon to open Convention Centre is. The only events out in Kanata will be the on-ice events, like the skills competition and game itself. If you want fun outside your doorstep, make sure they give you a hotel room downtown. If you get the Holiday Inn in Kanata, there’s not much to do.
    Note: the arena is exactly 25 kilometres (15 miles) from downtown; not too far to go.

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