COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: An exterior view of Nationwide Arena before the home opener between the Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on October 7, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The NHL announced Saturday that the 2013 All-Star Game will be held in Columbus, hosted by the Blue Jackets.
The NHL All-Star Game is headed to Ohio. The league announced Saturday, during All-Star Weekend 2012 in Ottawa, that the 2013 event will be hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 26 and 27.
It'll be the first time the Blue Jackets have hosted All-Star Weekend, but it's not their first time hosting a premier NHL event. Nationwide Arena was the site of the 2007 NHL Draft, and commissioner Gary Bettman praised that event as evidence to why Columbus will be a strong host for the All-Star Weekend.
"We're looking forward to bringing our All-Star celebration to Columbus," Bettman said. "The Blue Jackets did a great job of hosting the NHL Draft in 2007, and I have no doubt they will raise the bar even higher when they welcome our All-Star celebration next January."
In Columbus, fans are excited about the event, even though it's still a year away. Via Blue Jackets blog The Cannon:
If true, it is a bittersweet honor, given the way this season has gone. But perhaps the best way to see this is as a recognition of the dedicated and growing fanbase here in Columbus who have truly embraced NHL hockey over the past decade.
With expanded hotel options in the downtown area slated to be completed this summer and the arena issue resolved, it appears that the logistical stumbling blocks that previously kept the Jackets from hosting major events after the 2007 NHL draft have been cleared up, and perhaps this will help to engage a city that has split between writing off the team or reaching a boiling point of frustration in their search for a winner.