The NHL will announce on Friday that the Nashville Predators will host the 2016 NHL All-Star game, to the delight of every beat writer that’s ever woken up in a haze after covering the Nashville Predators.
But seriously, the All-Star game exists for three reasons: Vote-fixing scandals, the skills competition on Saturday night and to bring a traveling road show of hockey cool to cities that can properly host a fan-centric celebration of the NHL.
If you’ve been on site for one, you know what they mean to the fans in those cities, especially your “non-traditional markets” in the U.S. Nashville is a city with a strong, burgeoning fan base. They’re going to relish the experience. They’re going to turn this thing into a party.
The remaining NHL cities that have yet to host an All-Star game: Anaheim, Glendale, which would have one in 2006 were it not for the Turin Olympics; Winnipeg; Newark, NJ; and Washington, D.C. (Landover, MD did host in 1982), which is actually sort of weird when you consider that the Frozen Four received raves when it was held there and Ted Leonsis is super tight with Bettman.
So congrats, Nashville. Maybe 2016 is when Shea Weber finally takes the hardest shot crown from Chara, to the delight of the hometown fans.
Oh, and Carrie Underwood: Save the date ...