Tuesday, January 1, 2019

St. Louis awarded 2020 NHL All-Star Game for third time

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made announcement during 2019 Winter 
Classic; games previously held here in 1970, 1988; Butler, Nolan on waivers

ST. LOUIS -- The NHL's best will congregate in the Gateway to The West in 2020.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement during the intermission of the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks that St. Louis will play host to the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, Jan. 24-26, 2020 at Enterprise Center, two years after hosting the 2017 Winter Classic at Busch Stadium.
(St. Louis Blues provided)

The All-Star Game will be the first for St. Louis since 1988 and the third in St. Louis history (1970). Both of those were held at old St. Louis Arena.

"This is a great day for not only Blues fans, but for the city of St. Louis," Blues chairman Tom Stillman said in a statement. "Our city, our great fans and our corporate partners have shown tremendous loyalty to the Blues since the team’s inception in 1967 and landing a major event such as the NHL All-Star Game is a testament to their relentless passion and support."

All-Star Weekend will include the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills competition on Saturday, Jan. 25 and and the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game will play out on Sunday, Jan. 26. All-Star Weekend will feature various hockey-themed events, entertainment and activities.

"We're extremely excited to be hosting the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis," Blues president and CEO of business operations Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. "The support we have received from the city of St. Louis, coupled with ongoing investments from the Blues' ownership group have facilitated the dramatic transformation of Enterprise Center and were critical to winning the bid for our first NHL All-Star Game since the building opened in 1994."

All-Star weekend will include the Honda NHL All-Star Skills competition and the Honda NHL All-Star Game, along with various hockey-themed events, entertainment and activities. Hosting the event was made possible in part by two consecutive summers of significant building improvements to Enterprise Center.

Enterprise Center has undergone roughly $150 million in renovation projects that are expected to be completed by the summer, and without those, would likely not have been in the running for the All-Star festivities.

"St. Louis was a great host for us for the Winter Classic we recently had there, and in the final analysis, the total circumstances, including the substantial renovation that they've done of Enterprise Center made it the right time to go back," Bettman told reporters in South Bend, Ind. "We have no doubt it will be a huge success." 

For information on All-Star Weekend updates and how to purchase tickets, click on the line provided by the Blues: https://www.nhl.com/blues/fans/all-star-game.

The 39th All-Star Game was won by the Wales Conference, 6-5, on Feb. 9, 1988 behind MVP Mario Lemieux (Penguins), who had three goals and three assists.

Al MacInnis (Flames) played in that game for the Campbell Conference, and the only Blues participant in that game was defenseman Rob Ramage, but players that would go on to become Blues alumni that played included Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson, Dale Hawerchuk and Peter Stastny. Larry Robinson (Canadiens) was the Wales Conference captain and his teammate was former Blues assistant coach Kirk Muller (Devils).

In the 23rd All-Star Game, the East defeated the West 4-1 on Jan. 20, 1970.

The West was coached by Blues coach Scotty Bowman, and Blues players included goalie Jacques Plante, defenseman Barclay Plager and forwards Red Berenson, Frank St. Marseille, Jimmy Roberts, Gary Sabourin and Ab McDonald.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Enterprise Center will play host to the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend
Jan. 24-26, 2020.

Former Blues star Brett Hull's dad, Bobby Hull, was named the MVP with a goal and an assist.

The league also announced the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will feature the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Sask., on Oct. 26; the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will have the Dallas Stars play an opponent yet to be determined at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 1, 2020, and the 2020 NHL Stadium Series will visit the United States Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. and feature the Colorado Avalanche against an opponent to be determined on Feb. 15, 2020.

* Butler, Nolan on waivers -- The Blues put veterans Chris Butler and Jordan Nolan on waivers Tuesday, with the purpose of assigning them to San Antonio of the American Hockey League should they clear.

Both players played solid roles while injured players were out of the lineup, but Butler has been a healthy scratch the past two games since the return of Alex Pietrangelo on defense, and Nolan, who has been solid in a fourth-line role, was a healthy scratch Monday against the New York Rangers with Robby Fabbri (separated shoulder) back from his injury.

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (hand) is on the cusp of returning, thus Butler being exposed to waivers since he played in 10 or more games, but with Nolan -- who also played in 11 games -- gone now, the Blues have no extra forwards for the time being and could recall one of their younger players, perhaps Jordan Kyrou, Zach Sanford or Sammy Blais.

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