SBD/February 1, 2011/Franchises

Senators Hoping For Boost From Hosting '12 NHL All-Star Game

Scotiabank Place to host NHL All-Star Game for first time next year
The Senators will host the NHL All-Star Game next season, and the game will be a "centrepiece of the Senators' 20th anniversary celebration," according to Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. The event also will "play a key role in the Senators' campaign to sell season tickets for 2011-12." With the team in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, Senators President Cyril Leeder is "aware he's got his challenge." He noted that he is "always concerned about ticket sales, but the support has been strong this season and he's going to try to keep it from dipping down the stretch of what's become a lost season." Leeder: "I always have to worry about selling tickets. That's my job. Even the year we sold out 38 games, I still was worried about how we sell out the other three. It's always important for us to work on how we're going to sell tickets." Garrioch noted Leeder and a contingent of Senators officials attended the NHL All-Star Weekend in Raleigh to "get an idea of what they'll have to deal with next year." Leeder: "You always try to be better than the guys before you, so you're down here trying to get some ideas. You want to see what's working, how you can improve things and looking at the different venues." Leeder said that he "expects the new wrinkle of the player draft ... will be kept next season." He "isn't sure where it would be held in Ottawa, but liked the concept" (OTTAWA SUN, 1/30). Ottawa Tourism President Noel Buckley Friday said of the trip to Raleigh, "We want to see how the destination is holding the event, how the (Raleigh) convention centre and hotels are holding the event -- we're looking at this from a destination perspective." In Ottawa, Wayne Scanlan wrote All-Star Weekend is "hockey's biggest party of the year," and "if there is a model for the all-star party, the Ottawa hosts would like to pattern themselves after the Montreal all-star weekend in 2009 when a festive atmosphere seized downtown Montreal." One attraction that Raleigh "could not offer, but Ottawa will, weather permitting, is easy access to the world's largest outdoor skating rink" at the Rideau Canal, which is "just around the corner from major hotels and the new Convention Centre" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/29).

LUCK NUMBER '13: In Nashville, Josh Cooper reported the Predators last week "would neither confirm nor deny they plan to bid" for the '13 All-Star Game, "the next one up for grabs." However, the "scheduled opening of the new downtown convention center that year and the Predators' aggressive push to bring more events to Bridgestone Arena could create a perfect storm that prompts a bid." Anaheim, Phoenix and Columbus "are the other cities in the 30-team NHL yet to host the all-star game." Bridgestone Arena "played host to the 2003 NHL Draft" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/30).
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