Providence, R.I. — The St. John’s IceCaps haven’t promised the stars to anyone, but all indications are that if the IceCaps want to play host to the 2014 American Hockey League All-Star Classic, the league will gladly dish the puck St. John’s way.
The capital city has been the site of AHL All-Star events on one previous occasion. That was in 2002, when the St. John’s Maple Leafs played out of Mile One Centre. And like 2002, 2014 will be an Olympic year, which is about the only time St. John’s can capably host the event.
In other years, the two-day All-Star window would not allow for enough time to get players in and out of
St. John’s, the league’s most easterly location, from other AHL cities which stretch from Charlotte, N.C., to San Antonio, Texas, to Abbotsford, B.C.
But in recent Winter Olympic years, which have seen the National Hockey League shut down operations during the Games, the AHL All-Star window has been more open, with buffer days permitting easier transportation of players.
The NHL has not committed to allowing its players to be part of the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, but talks about potential NHL participation at Sochi are expected to begin soon.
Nevertheless, besides travel logistics, there will be other issues for the IceCaps as they consider hosting the two-day all-star event, which consists of a skills competition one day, followed by the All-Star game the next.
Not the least of these will be the matchup between revenue and expenses, since the host team is financially responsible. Another would be the burden it would place on the IceCaps’ front office, hockey and operations staffs, which would already be busy with day-to-day regular season duties.
The league office looks after many matters pertaining to the All-Star Game, but on-site operations are left almost entirely in the hands of the host club.
Discussions about St. John’s possibly being the 2014 All-Star host are expected to continue this weekend in Providence, site of the 2013 all-star gathering, but there may be no final decision until the NHL/Olympic issue is settled.
The IceCaps are not commenting on the matter, but league sources say that if St. John’s says it is willing to take its star turn, the league will be more than willing to announce Mile One as site of the 2014 dance.