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Pens hope All-Star Game follows draft to Pittsburgh

by Alan Robinson
PITTSBURGH -- The Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009, the 2011 Bridgestone Winter Classic, now the 2012 Draft. Obviously, Pittsburgh has been a busy port of call for the NHL over the past few seasons.
According to Penguins CEO David Morehouse, not quite busy enough.
Now that the much-praised Consol Energy Center is their home, the Penguins are making a major push to also play host to the NHL All-Star Game. The All-Star game was last played in Pittsburgh in 1990, when Mario Lemieux scored four goals in his one and only all-star appearance on home ice. A season later, he would lead the Penguins to the first of two successive Stanley Cups.
That 1990 All-Star Game was notable for being the first to stage a Heroes of Hockey Game and an All-Star skills competition.
Morehouse promised the Penguins will remain aggressive in pursuing the All-Star Game, which will be played this season on Jan. 29 in Ottawa.
"I know we're going to ask an awful lot," Morehouse said. "We're going to see if we can wear them down. In a few years, I think it's a great place to host an All-Star game. It's one of the premier facilities, if not the premier facility, in the NHL. And Pittsburgh has proven itself a great hockey town -- we continue to lead U.S. teams in television ratings and merchandise sales and almost every other category. We're very excited about the growth of hockey in Pittsburgh, and how it continues to grow."
The Penguins will play before their 216th consecutive sellout crowd Thursday night when they meet the Islanders, a streak that began when they played in the Civic Arena. The 18,387-seat Consol Energy Center opened last season.
At least one more major hockey event will be played in Pittsburgh in the near future -- the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four. Morehouse also wants to bring the world junior championships to Consol, but has been told there is a waiting list for that popular, holiday-time tournament.
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