NHL

Columbus to host '15 All-Star weekend

Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
Nationwide Arena will host the 2015 NHL All-Star festivities.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)

NHL All-Star weekend is coming to Columbus, two years later than planned.

Commissioner Gary Bettman made it official on Saturday when he and Blue Jackets director of hockey operations John Davidson announced that the festivities will take place at Nationwide Arena on Jan. 24-25, 2015.

Columbus was originally awarded the 2013 All-Star weekend but that event was canceled due to the lockout.

"The Commissioner made a promise, and that promise has been kept," Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said. "As a politician, that's always something good to hear."

Bettman said there was never any serious consideration of taking the next available All-Star game anywhere but Ohio's capital city.

"The only issues we had to deal with were logistical," Bettman said. "We had to make sure that the convention center and hotel space were available. We wanted to come back as quickly as possible, but we had to make sure we were able to do it."

The announcement was met with a loud ovation from a capacity crowd when it made midway through the first period of Columbus' game against Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

There won't be an All-Star game this season because of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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Columbus will become the third straight first-time host of the NHL's big weekend, following Raleigh, N.C., in 2011, and Ottawa in 2012.

Davidson said he was particularly pleased for the McConnell family, which brought the NHL to Columbus and still own the Blue Jackets.

"This is going to be a fun time," Davidson said.

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