The rumors have been floating around for a couple of weeks, but the National Hockey League has made it official: Tampa is once again an All-Star city.
For the second time in it's history, the city of Tampa will be the host of the NHL's All-Star Game in 2018, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced at his press conference Monday. Festivities will start January 27 and include the NHL Skills Competition, with the actual All-Star Game being held January 28 at Amalie Arena.
"We are looking forward to bringing the 2018 NHL All-Star celebration to the Tampa Bay area," Bettman said. "In addition to the events on the ice, we're planning outside activities which will embrace the Tampa Bay community and Gasparilla events -- as well as the Florida sunshine. We know Jeff Vinik, the Lightning and AMALIE Arena will be outstanding hosts as the NHL family gathers for our mid-season showcase."
“We are thrilled to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game at AMALIE Arena,” said Lightning Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik. “We’ve worked hard over the past several years to transform Tampa Bay into a hockey market. The honor of hosting the All-Star game validates that work, but it’s not the end of our efforts. We pledge to work alongside the NHL as well as leaders across Tampa Bay to deliver a world class experience for All-Star players, fans and partners.”
Amalie Arena also hosted the league's midseason classic in 1999, when the building was known as the Ice Palace, as Team North America defeated Team World 8-6 in that contest in front of 19,758 fans.
Yahoo Sports originally reported that if the NHL decided to have a 2018 All-Star Game, that Tampa would be its location. At the time, the league had not decided whether its players would participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which would preclude an All-Star break.
Watch the introductions of the players the first time the NHL came to Tampa below!