If the National Hockey League resumes play this summer, there is a possibility that Columbus will host 12 of the 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup.
On Tuesday, league officials said they would pick two cities to host the teams and Columbus is one of the ten they are eyeing. The other nine include Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver.
According to Linda Logan, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission’s Executive Director, she and her team are working with the Columbus Blue Jackets on how the city could host this event.
“One of the things that we are tasked with right now is bringing the hotel community together to see what the best footprint would look like for hosting the NHL in Columbus,” she said.
In addition to hotel space, Logan said the NHL would likely consider the fact that Columbus is home to two arenas with practice facilities nearby. She did not speculate on what the financial impact of hosting the NHL could be on the city.
“It’s probably too soon to anticipate what that direct spending number would be, but I know that all of the hospitality community, in particular, would be positioned well to roll out the red carpet even as limited as possible, as it will be,” she said.
In the Arena District, business owners were excited about the possibility of being able to host fans despite the possibility of restrictions still being in place.
“I think for business, it’ll be great,” said Mike Darr, the owner of R Bar. “It’ll be great for the whole Arena District and all the sports bars out there. I think it’s really important for sports to come back because it gives something for the population to be engaged in.”
If play resumes, the Blue Jackets will begin its push for the Stanley Cup by playing a best of five series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to NHL officials, fans will not be allowed to attend the games.