Edit: I'm being told by several people that McKenzie referred to Columbus as a "finalist", and not as a done deal. Still good, but not the home stretch yet.
Edit To The Edit: Done deal per Puck-Rakers. Get ready!
According to reports credited to TSN Insider Bob McKenzie, the 2013 All Star Game appears to be heading for Columbus.
If true, it is a bittersweet honor, given the way this season has gone. But perhaps the best way to see this is as a recognition of the dedicated and growing fanbase here in Columbus who have truly embraced NHL hockey over the past decade.
With expanded hotel options in the downtown area slated to be completed this summer and the arena issue resolved, it appears that the logistical stumbling blocks that previously kept the Jackets from hosting major events after the 2007 NHL draft have been cleared up, and perhaps this will help to engage a city that has split between writing off the team or reaching a boiling point of frustration in their search for a winner.
This would also mark the first time that a Western Conference team hosted the game since 2007 in Dallas, with the last four games held in Eastern Conference cities.
That said, don't pull on your party hats just yet - the NHL has not officially confirmed anything yet, and the host announcements sometimes come as late in the season as April.
We talked to the Greater Columbus Sports Commission earlier this season about their work to bring the ASG (and other major hockey events) to town - go check out the interview to help get an idea of what may be involved behind the scenes, then watch the events in Ottawa this weekend and dare, perhaps, to dream...