In A Weekend of No Stars, Columbus Comes Out an All Star

I think we can all agree, the Jackets play this weekend against Pittsburgh did not provide the validation of the new rivalry or the positive news the CBJ organization was looking for. The only positive news to come out of Columbus this weekend (not counting Ohio State) was that the NHL made good on their promise and awarded the city of Columbus the 2015 All Star Game. While this weekend’s announcement lacked the fanfare surrounding the first attempt from the Summer of 2012, it is nice to see the NHL keep their promise, and allow Columbus another shot at All Star weekend. While every hockey fan suffered during the lockout, CBJ fans were dealt an even bigger loss when the 2013 All Star Game was canceled. With 2014 being an Olympic year, it was unknown whether Columbus would jump to the head of the line in 2015, or if the city would have to wait.

On Saturday, Columbus hockey fans finally got their answer: the 2015 All Star game will be played in their city. Gary Bettman was also on hand to formally make the announcement, as well as discuss the decision during a Fox Sports Ohio interview during the second intermission.

Bettman had nothing but nice things to say about the city of Columbus, and Nationwide Arena. He seemed genuinely happy for the All Star game to be hosted by one of the nicest arenas in the NHL, and also praised the Arena District for being one of the finest areas surrounding a NHL venue.

Also mentioned during the 2nd intermission interview was that the “fantasy draft” format will once again be utilized in 2015. This comes as no surprise as the NBA and now the NFL  also have moved to this format for their all star events. For Jackets fans, this means it is likely that at least one Blue Jackets will be named captain of an All Star team. If the NHL is feeling really generous towards Columbus, maybe we will see a Jack Johnson vs James Wisniewski “Controlled Chaos” showdown. Regardless of team captains, there will likely be more CBJ players than usual featured in the game, and the city of Columbus, Nationwide Arena, and the Blue Jackets will take center stage during one of the NHL’s premier events.

In a previous post, I argued that hockey fans in Columbus should really be asking for a Stadium Series game. While I still hope Columbus is one day considered for an outdoor game, I feel that the All Star game is a good start for the city. The NHL is currently rewarding the larger markets with its outdoor games, but some day I believe Columbus and Ohio Stadium will get its chance. For now, the All Star game is a great way to introduce the game of hockey to new fans, as well as show the rest of the league’s fans one of the nicest venues in the NHL.

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