During a press event held prior to Game One of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced, among other things, the hosts of the 2022 NHL All-Star Game, Stadium Series, Winter Classic, and NHL Draft.
Let’s take a look at each of those announcements.
2022 NHL ALL-STAR GAME
In just their fifth season, the Vegas Golden Knights will be hosting the 2022 NHL All-Star Game at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The awarding of the All-Star Game comes following wave after wave of success for the relatively new franchise, just consider that in the absolute *worst* season in Golden Knights history they still made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The 2021 edition of the game, which had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was originally scheduled to be hosted by the Florida Panthers. No word on if/when they’ll get the lost game back. Sixteen years on, the Arizona Coyotes are still waiting to get back the game they lost due to NHL players instead competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Getting a game within a team’s first five seasons has happened several times before. The New Jersey Devils got the game in 1983-84 in just their second season after relocating from Denver, the Blues hosted in their 3rd season, and most recently, the Minnesota Wild got it in their 4th year in 2004. On the other end of the spectrum, the Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets, and Arizona Coyotes are all still waiting to host their first, with each of those three now having had to wait over 25 seasons (so far) to do so.
2022 NHL WINTER CLASSIC
Next year’s Winter Classic will remain the same as what had originally been planned for 2021. The Minnesota Wild hosting a game played at Target Field (home of baseball’s Twins) against the St. Louis Blues.
This will be the second outdoor game for both the Wild and the Blues.
As is tradition, the Winter Classic will take place on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2022.
The Winter Classic sees teams wear retro-inspired uniforms, and there’s some interesting possiblities here. All eyes will be on the Wild who, following great success with their green and gold Reverse Retro uniforms, could break out another Minnesota North Stars inspired set. The Blues have already tapped into their original 1960s uniforms a few times, I’d like to see them travel back to their original NHL team and wear uniforms based off of the 1935 St. Louis Eagles.
2022 NHL STADIUM SERIES
After taking part as the guests during the 2020 Winter Classic, the Nashville Predators will take their turn playing host for an outdoor game, with the 2022 Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium (the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans) in Nashville on February 26, 2022.
Their opponents for the game will be the possibly back-to-back defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, who will be playing in their first-ever outdoor game.
The Stadium Series usually features more modern and futuristic-style uniforms (remember the Kings-Avs game in 2020? Shiny helmets!), we could see some “out-there” designs with these two clubs. What direction will they go? Who knows?! And that’s sometimes part of the beauty of the Stadium Series, it’s totally unpredictable what you’ll end up with for uniforms.
The 2021 Stadium Series game was originally set to be hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes, the league says they are hoping to set them up with another outdoor game soon.
2022 NHL DRAFT
Next summer’s NHL Draft will be the first (hopefully) in-person draft to be held in three years following the virtual drafts held in 2020 and the 2021 Draft still to be held next month. The plan is to host the event in Montreal, who had originally be set to host in June 2020 before it had to be shifted to virtual and pushed back to October.
Before 2020, Montreal had previously hosted the NHL Draft in 2009 as part of the franchise’s centennial celebrations.
Note, none of the logos shown above are the official, final logos for any of the events, just placeholders the league routinely releases along with the announcement of the games. Real, actual logos will be coming out in the next few months.