Nov 4 2013, 12:41am CST | by Poch de la Rosa
This was made official by no less than NHL commissioner Gary Bettman by way of the Blue Jackets' official website on Saturday. The precise dates are January 24 and 25, which include the NHL All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena.
Bettman made an appearance during the Blue Jackets' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won 3-0. He was initially booed by the Columbus crowd, but the jeers turned to cheers when the commissioner made his announcement.
Bettman raved about the city of Columbus as host of the 2015 festivities.
"Columbus is an ideal host city for our All-Star Celebration. The facilities are first-rate, the Blue Jackets are exciting, and entertaining and the fans passionately support their team and our league. Our players, sponsors, media and guests are looking forward to being in Columbus for the All-Star activities."
Columbus mayor Michael Coleman was relieved Bettman kept his promise, per the Associated Press. He said,"The commissioner made a promise, and that promise has been kept. As a politician, that's always something good to hear."
In addition, he emphasized it would be a great opportunity for the city of Columbus to gain some much-needed exposure.
"It's an opportunity to show off the city to the world. The best hockey players in the world will be in the city of Columbus. We'll roll out the red carpet. We'll have a great time and people will know what the great city of Columbus is all about."
The city was slated to act as host in 2013, but that vision was not realized due to last season's lockout. There will be no All-Star Game in the 2013-14 NHL season because of next year's Winter Olympics which will be held in Sochi, Russia.
For his part, Blue Jackets majority owner John P. McConnell couldn't be more excited.
"The All-Star Celebration is a marquee event featuring the best players in the world and the Blue Jackets are are thrilled to be able to bring it to Central Ohio for our fans and community.
"Columbus and the Area District offer an unmatched setting for this celebration of hockey and the NHL's commitment to having the event here speaks volumes about the support of our fans and the strength of our market."
According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission pegs the estimated revenue of the 2015 All-Star Celebration for the city at $12 million. Another $50 million in media exposure is expected to be raked in.
Columbus will get another shot at hosting another major NHL event after eight years as the last it hosted was the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Bettman said,"We had such a good time at the draft, we thought we'd come back through."
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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