Originally planned for 2006 and 2011, the NHL has cancelled twice on the Coyotes and has not delivered an All-Star Game to the 20 year Phoenix market.
It began way back in 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning had won the Stanley Cup and the lock out was looming due to the owners wanting cost certainty. The 2004-05 season’s All-Star Game was originally awarded to the Atlanta Thrashers to help improve the struggling franchise. Unfortunately in November 2004, it was announced that the 2004-05 All-Star Game would be cancelled due to the lockout, which would continue and eventually cancel the entire season in January 2005. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was eventually agreed upon by the players and owners in July 2005.
For the 2005-06 season, Phoenix was set to host the All-Star Game at the new Jobbing.com Arena (now Gila River Arena). However; as part of the new CBA the NHL was unable to schedule two breaks within a season, and players had expressed interest in participating in the Winter Olympics. The Olympics were scheduled in Turin, Italy for February 10-26, and All-Star festivities were planned for late January. The NHL’s participation in the 2006 Olympics led to the cancellation of the All-Star Weekend in Glendale.
Games were held in Dallas (2007), Atlanta (in 2008 as a make-up for 2005), Montreal (2009), no game in 2010 because of the Vancouver Olympics, but the Coyotes were selected for the game for 2011. Ownership struggles had emerged in 2009, but the 2011 game was awarded to the Coyotes to compensate for the 2006 cancellation. Pending bids from several potential owners including Matt Hulsizer, Greg Jamison, and Jerry Reinsdorf had the team looking up. Unfortunately due to fears that the club could not correct the ownership issues plaguing the franchise, the NHL moved the 2011 All-Star Game to Raleigh, NC giving the Carolina Hurricanes their chance to host.
As for All-Star Game, LeBlanc said #Coyotes promised one to make up for one that was cancelled in 04-05 lockout. "Not if but when" situation
— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) June 6, 2014
Along with the Coyotes, only two active clubs have not hosted an All-Star Game, the Ducks and Jets. While the Coyotes off-ice struggles continue, owner Anthony LeBlanc has been pushing for the team to have alternative options to help bolster the franchise including an All-Star Game and outdoor game. Although the arena remains a question, Phoenix is a destination market and has hosted multiple big events including Super Bowls. An All-Star Game should come to the Phoenix area at some point in the future. Besides most people would probably rather be in Phoenix this time of year anyway, where there is no snow and it’s scheduled to be 75 degrees and sunny this weekend.
Aaron Davis is an Arizona native and die-hard hockey fan. He played high school club hockey (poorly). He produces/co-hosts a podcast on the Heroes Media Group Network. His teams are: Coyotes, & Penguins, as well as, the Cardinals, Yankees, Suns, Everton, Steelers, Diamondbacks, & Pirates. He can be reached on Twitter – @AKD_56.