Unlike other pro sport all-star games, where teams from opposing conferences play each other, the captains — Nick Foligno of the Blue Jackets and Jonathon Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks — pick the teams that will play.
The event has been three years in the making. The All-Star Game, the first hosted by the Blue Jackets who joined the NHL in 2000, will be played at Nationwide Arena on January 26.
Tickets for the game itself are unavailable through the team, but can be bought through secondary markets, like Ticketmaster’s Ticket Exchange or Stubhub. But even if you don’t have a ticket for the game itself, there are plenty of activities going on in and around the Arena District.
The NHL Fan Fair will be at the Columbus Convention Center beginning Thursday January 22 with a private event for season ticket holders. The fun gets underway for the general public beginning Friday. There’s memorabilia on display and for sale, a chance to see iconic NHL All-Star Game photos and meet NHL mascots. You can even try your hand at games to test your hockey skills. Don’t miss getting your photo taken with the Stanley Cup, the iconic trophy that even predates the NHL. (Tradition dictates that hockey players can’t touch it until they’ve won it themselves.)
Across the street from Nationwide Arena will be the All-Star Winter Park, featuring the Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Rink, an NHL-sized rink that will be available for public skating, among other things. You can bring your own skates or rent them there. There will also be a snow slide, standing 34 feet tall and spanning 85 feet!
For more adult-oriented activities, there’s the Dispatch Media Group Hockey House on site, with music, food and adult beverages. And there’s a KidsZone, including a replica of the Blue Jackets locker room as well as a tent selling NHL All-Star merchandise. At night, the area will be lit up, with 350,000 lights hung in canopies and wrapped around trees.
So whether you are a hockey fan or just want a memorable winter experience with your friends or family – there is something for everyone in Columbus during this national event.
Logos and photos courtesy of the Blue Jackets.