Proposed NHL Contract Keeps All-Star Event Alive

Sports Commission ‘hopeful’ NHL proposal will save All-Star Game for Columbus

By Jeff Bell, Staff reporter – Business First

Columbus’ long-awaited chance to host the National Hockey League All-Star Game remains alive after a new development in the labor impasse between the league’s owners and players.

On Tuesday, owners introduced a new proposal in an effort to end the
player lockout that began Sept. 15. It includes a 50-50 split of
hockey-related revenues between owners and players and a full 82-game
schedule that would begin Nov. 2.

The NHL has cancelled all regular-season games through Oct. 24 because of the lockout, including five involving the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The NHL Players Association has yet to respond to the owners’ new offer.

ESPN reported
Tuesday that one source told the All-Star Game,
scheduled Jan. 27 in Nationwide Arena, could be in jeopardy so
regular-season games could be played that week. But Linda Logan, executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, said an NHL official told her Wednesday the all-star contest would be included in the league’s compressed schedule.

That is good news for Columbus, which would benefit from an estimated $12 million in visit spending from the All-Star Game and accompanying festivities.

“We’re still very hopeful and happy there’s been some movement (in
the contract negotiations),” Logan said, adding the local All-Star Game
committee continues planning for the event.

She also said the NHL has not set a deadline for when the game will
be cancelled should the lockout continue into November. The NHL pulled
the plug on Nov. 3, 2004, for an all-star game to have been played in
Atlanta during the 2004-05 season that was lost to a labor dispute
between owners and players.


Jeff Bell covers public policy, utilities, energy and the business of sports for Business First.