Sports

Golden Opportunity: NHL Announces Las Vegas to Host 2022 All-Star Game

Another marquee sporting event is heading to Las Vegas. On Monday, before the Tampa Bay Lightning hosted the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the NHL announced the 2022 All-Star Game would take place in Sin City.

A packed T-Mobile Arena watched the Las Vegas Golden Knights play the Montreal Canadiens in a Stanley Cup Playoff game earlier this month. On Monday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the city would host the league’s 2022 All-Star Game. (Image: NHL.com)

It marks the first time the Vegas Golden Knights have hosted the event.

Besides the game itself, T-Mobile Arena will host a weekend full of activities, including the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. Other activities and entertainment will take place leading up to the game.

This is one of the league’s premier events of the year and we are thrilled to bring fans from around the world to Las Vegas to celebrate hockey,” Golden Knights President and COO Kerry Bubolz said in a statement. “This event will also help continue our growth of the game in Nevada and our surrounding areas.”

The date for the All-Star Game was not announced Monday. Typically, the game takes place in late January.

During a press conference with reporters Monday afternoon, Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is still working out several scheduling issues for the 2021-22 season. That includes whether NHL players will play in next year’s Winter Olympics, which will take place in Beijing.

The fact that the league went ahead and awarded Vegas the game may tip their hand a little bit. No NHL players played in the 2018 Olympics, and the league held an All-Star Game. However, the league did not hold an All-Star Game in 2006, 2010, and 2014, years when NHL stars did play in the Winter Games.

NHL All-Star Game Not Alone in Picking Vegas

The upcoming year is shaping up to be a pretty big one for Las Vegas when it comes to sporting events.

Earlier this year the NFL announced that Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, would host the 2022 Pro Bowl – that league’s all-star game. Like the NHL All-Star Game, the Pro Bowl’s date has not yet been officially determined. However, in recent years, it has taken place in the week before Super Bowl Sunday.

In addition, the NFL will hold its 2022 Draft in Las Vegas, making up for having to cancel the 2020 event. The draft was scheduled to take place on the Las Vegas Strip before the pandemic shut everything down in the spring of 2020.

The Pro Bowl and the Draft will likely be auditions for the city, determining if the league awards Las Vegas a Super Bowl in the near future. The earliest Allegiant Stadium could get to host America’s biggest sporting event would be in 2025.

Before COVID-19 squashed the 2020 Draft, there were forecasts that upwards of 750,000 fans would flock to the Las Vegas Strip to see where the top collegiate players would start their pro careers.

NCAA Hitting the Strip in 2023

Another major events is also (finally) heading to Vegas in the years ahead.

In 2023, the NCAA will finally hold the men’s college basketball tournament games on the Strip, when T-Mobile hosts a regional. While numerous college conferences have used Las Vegas as the site for their postseason tournaments, landing a piece of March Madness was off-limits until the NCAA ended a ban on postseason events taking place in states that legalized sports betting.

Sports betting is now legal in 30 states plus the District of Columbia, and operational in 21 of those, as well as DC.

Steve Bittenbender

Horse Racing, Sports Betting, Gaming Legislation, Midwest and Gulfport Casinos----Steve Bittenbender is a veteran reporter, and brings more than two decades of experience covering sports, gaming business, and politics and legislation to Casino.org, which he joined in 2019. Based in Louisville, Kentucky -- the epicenter of the US horse racing industry -- Steve has also covered major collegiate and professional sports for the Associated Press and the Louisville Courier Journal, and is frequently featured on local network TV newscasts and podcasts for his horse racing business and legislative expertise. A Reuters contributor, he has also previously served as editor for Government Security News. Steve lives with his wife and son, and is an avid poker player, having learned from his uncle as a wholesome after-school pasttime with cookies and milk. Email: stevebittenbender@casino.org

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