- Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk made good on a promise today, when he and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the city would host the 2012 NHL All-Star Celebration. Melnyk had pledged to fans that he would bring an NHL all-star game to Ottawa, when he purchased the club in 2003. The 2012 NHL All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, at Scotiabank Place, but the celebration will begin Thursday, Jan. 26, with a variety events planned throughout the national capital region.
“The Ottawa Senators and our hockey fans couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity to host and showcase the NHL’s top players in 2012,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. “We will create a once-in-a-lifetime, weekend-long celebration of all that is great about hockey, the NHL and our city.”
“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.”
The club’s bid, delivered to the NHL last February, was jointly submitted by the Senators and Ottawa Tourism. The bid partners also received planning and preparation support from the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission (NCC)and the new Ottawa Convention Centre.
“Short of the Stanley Cup final, which has already made its way to Ottawa and we hope to bring back again soon, the NHL’s all-star game festivities are the keynote events of the annual hockey schedule,” said Senators president Cyril Leeder. “We believe Ottawa will be a memorable venue to celebrate the NHL, Canada’s favourite pastime and the Senators’ 20th season.”
Ottawa Tourism estimates that the economic impact could exceed $30 million throughout the region, with increased tourism, more than 7,000 hotel rooms used, and activity from all the events and visitors. The broadcast ratings for North America exceed 3.5 million viewers on both Saturday and Sunday, and the Sunday game itself will be broadcast live in over 150 countries.
The 2012 NHL All-Star Game will be a community effort with support, volunteers and teamwork from all sectors of Hockey Country. All-star events will take place at the new world-class Ottawa Convention Centre, and the NCC will present public activities on the Rideau Canal Skateway and preview certain Winterlude attractions during this weekend.
“Our great Ottawa winter traditions will be shared with the NHL community, including skating on the Rideau Canal and previewing Winterlude’s activities,” added Leeder. “Hockey is a great game and we are extremely pleased at bringing its biggest stars to one of the world's truly great hockey cities.”
Details on the 2012 NHL all-star events, ticketing and community involvement will be announced at later dates.
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