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League, Blue Jackets say Columbus hosting NHL Winter Classic is pure ‘speculation’

Columbus is still in the running for a major NHL event, but it isn’t the 2012 Winter Classic.

Both the NHL and the Columbus Blue Jackets refuted speculation that Columbus was a potential host for the 2012 edition of the Classic.

Ryan Holtmann, manager of communications for the Blue Jackets, said the rumors might have originated from an opinion column that was published in the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail. Holtmann also said that even though Columbus is one of few cities that has the appropriate climate for the NHL’s popular outdoor event, the Blue Jackets “haven’t been contacted by the NHL or made aware that we’re finalists for the 2012 Winter Classic.”

John Dellapina, the NHL’s senior director of media relations, said, “having just emerged from the 2011 game, we still are reviewing the Pittsburgh event. Any speculation at this point about the site of the 2012 NHL Winter Classic or any subsequent one is just that: speculation.”

However, Columbus is in contention for another marquee NHL event.

Linda Logan, executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, is still optimistic about the 18-month-old bid to bring the 2013 NHL All-Star Game to the city.

“We’d be a great host for the All-Star Game,” Logan said. “We’re a great sports town, and this event would be in-keeping with that tradition.”

Holtmann said there is no timeline for a decision to be made on where the 2013 All-Star Game will be held.

As far as a future bid for the Winter Classic in Columbus is concerned, Ohio Stadium, a potential venue, could be a deciding factor. Dellapina said the Horseshoe could only boost a bid for the Classic.

“Ohio Stadium is one of the iconic venues in American sports,” Dellapina said. “Any event staged there is made more special by its setting. An NHL Winter Classic played there would be no different.”


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