League commissioner Gary Bettman has a scheduled meeting with Ottawa Senators brass next week at which point an announcement on the showcase game could be made. The 2010-11 all-star game has already been given to the Carolina Hurricanes.
If Ottawa is granted the game during Bettman’s luncheon with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and general manager Bryan Murray, it won’t come as a complete surprise. The club has been on the short list to host the three-day event for several seasons, after Bettman promised Melnyk the NHL would accept Ottawa’s bid once the league’s previous commitments to other franchises had been fulfilled.
The one major roadblock which had stood in the Senators’ way — a shortage of convention space — should be cleared up next year. The new Ottawa Convention Centre, currently under construction, is scheduled to open next April.
The Senators submitted their plan to host the 2011-12 game last February and city council pledged $200,000 to help finance the bid.
Senators president Cyril Leeder also suggested in February that the Senators success with previous NHL events — a scaled down entry draft in 2005 following the lock out, and a full scale draft in 2008 — also put the Senators at the top of list for the all-star game.
With the amount of effort that the Senators organization has put in, it’s almost like Ottawa’s in the dreaded friend zone. The Senators have become that guy who tries too hard to land that girl who they’ve been coveting for years. Too eager to please and loyal to a fault, they’ve become an entity that the league will keep around because they know that they can be counted upon. But when push comes to shove, the Senators never get the date.
Seriously though, getting the All-Star Game would be a great festival for Ottawa to have. While I’m not a huge proponent of the game itself, there’s no disputing the kind of positive economic impact that it would have on the city.