The NHL has picked Nashville to host the 2016 All-Star game, said a person with knowledge of the decision.
The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity, confirming multiple reports about the game, because neither the NHL nor the Nashville Predators have publicly announced the decision.
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The NHL has scheduled a news conference for Friday morning in Nashville where commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to make the formal announcement.
Bettman said in April 2012 during a trip to Nashville that Music City will host an All-Star game. But the commissioner said then he couldn’t give a date with the event needing ”stars to line up.”
A three-time All-Star, Predators captain Shea Weber said the game is a lot of fun. Weber said it will be very exciting for Nashville and a nice reward for the Predators’ fans.
”They are the best fans in the league,” Weber said after practice Wednesday. ”For it to come to a city here where they are going to enjoy it, the festivities are great. The cities I have been to in the past have done a great job of putting in other things for families and people to do. There’s so much for people to do here, it’s a great venue and I think people are going to enjoy it.”
The Predators hosted the NHL’s entry draft in 2003 and have been on a short list to host the All-Star game. But Nashville needed a bigger downtown convention center to host all the festivities connected with the All-Star game. The Music City Center opened in May 2013.
Nashville hosted the Women’s Final Four in April and is a finalist to host again between 2017 and 2020 at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators since their inaugural season in 1998-99. The arena also is scheduled to host the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament nine of the next 10 years starting in March.