2023 NHL All-Star Weekend
Florida Panthers get 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend in return to South Florida
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The Florida Panthers will host NHL All-Star Weekend in 2023.
On Friday afternoon, commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced South Florida — well, Broward County — will play host to the event next February.
South Florida will host the skills competition on Feb. 3 and the game on Feb. 4.
Although the announcement was a formality — Florida knew it was getting the event when the 2022 All-Star Weekend went to Las Vegas — it is exciting news for the South Florida hockey community.
“Having gone through it Columbus, I can tell you it’s so much fun,’’ Florida general manager Bill Zito told FHN.
“For any fan who likes hockey even a little bit, it is one of the most fun experiences you can have. The stars come to town, the guys enjoy coming. We’re preparing to put on a big show. If you can get to an All-Star Game, you should. It’s so much fun, it is just fantastic. Everyone has a great time and I am so excited.”
South Florida and the Panthers were awarded the event for 2021 but it was canceled as part of a shortened season.
The Panthers were promised they would get a future All-Star Weekend with Florida and Las Vegas flipping dates.
Florida Hockey Now is NOT taking an All-Star Break.
Due to continued uncertainty around the pandemic, the Panthers asked that the All-Star Weekend be moved to 2023 so hotels and other events could be properly scheduled.
At the time, the NHL had tentative plans to have players fly to China for the Beijing games from the All-Star Game — something much easier to do from Las Vegas.
The Panthers are expected to hold most All-Star events in Fort Lauderdale — the team’s new training facility at the War Memorial Auditorium will be open by then — with the game and most of the skills competition held in Sunrise.
”We are ready to celebrate the game,” Zito said. “We’ll celebrate hockey, the franchise and South Florida. I have only been here a short time, but the energy and the passion Vinnie and the Viola Family put into this thing … it’s too cool.
“As Bob Johnson used to say, ‘It’s a great day for hockey!’ Growing up in Wisconsin, we would go to Badger games and that was our NHL. … This is pretty cool. We’re getting the All-Star Game here. It’s awesome and it’s going to be fun. If you watch the Panthers, that’s what we’re all about. We’re having fun.”
When the Panthers were renegotiating their lease with Broward County, the league said that not only would the draft be held in South Florida, but the team would be given consideration for a future All-Star event.
South Florida is no stranger to holding big events such as the Super Bowl, World Series, Orange Bowl classic, NBA Finals and, yes, the Stanley Cup Finals.
The region has also hosted all major All-Star events including MLB (2017), NFL (2010) and NBA (1990).
“Nothing against other places around the league, but we’re talking about January in Florida,” Aaron Ekblad said in 2020 just before the Panthers were awarded the 2021 event. “This is where guys want to be.”
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Added former Florida center Vincent Trocheck: “An All-Star Game on the beach? That is awesome. With the sun and our weather, it is a vacation destination already. This would be huge for our city, our organization and for our fans. They would love it. They make the game so much fun for everyone even if you can’t get to the game. They’ll turn downtown into a hockey town.”
Aside from the 2003 All-Star Game, the Panthers also hosted the NHL Draft in 2001 and 2015.
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“There are a lot of things to do here for players, either in Fort Lauderdale or Miami,’’ Sasha Barkov said.“This is a great place. Players would really enjoy their time here.”
NHL ALL-STAR WEEKEND
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
- EVENTS: Skills competition, Friday 7:30 (ESPN); All-Star tournament, Saturday 3:30 (ABC/ESPN+)
- WHERE: T-Mobile Arena; various sites in Las Vegas
- PANTHERS PARTICIPATING: Jonathan Huberdeau, coach Andrew Brunette
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