OTTAWA – In a season in which very little has gone right for the Blue Jackets, general manager Scott Howson was able to deliver something positive: Columbus has landed the 2013 NHL all-star game.
“We haven’t had a lot of good news here since the season started. This is really a nice piece of news for us to start building some momentum,” Howson said Saturday after attending the NHL Board of Governors meeting during the all-star festivities in Ottawa.
“It’s phenomenal for our market. It’s phenomenal for our team,” Howson said, noting the event will bring tens of millions of dollars to the city. “The attention it brings to your city, the attention it brings to your team, it just raises your profile. It’s a tremendous event.”
The Blue Jackets (13-30-6) entered the all-star break with the NHL’s worst record and have already gone through a coaching change after Scott Arniel was fired three weeks ago. And only the Tampa Bay Lightning (165) have allowed more goals this season than Columbus (163).
Commissioner Gary Bettman formally announced the Blue Jackets would host the game.
“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 their 11th NHL season, the Blue Jackets, who play in Nationwide Arena, had applied for hosting rights in 2013, 2014 or 2015. Next year’s all-star weekend will be Jan. 26-27 and will mark the third straight year a city has hosted the game for the first time. Raleigh, N.C., home of the Carolina Hurricanes, hosted the game last year and this year’s game is Sunday in Ottawa.
“The Blue Jackets are honoured to host the 2013 all-star celebration in Columbus as we believe our city offers a truly unique setting for this special event,” said Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell. “As much as it is a showcase for the NHL’s best players, it is also a celebration of hockey fans and having it in Columbus is a testament to the fantastic support of our fans and the strength of Central Ohio as a hockey market.”