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All-Star Festivities Coming To Raleigh?

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In 2001, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman promised Raleigh would host the NHL All-Star Game within five years. Nearly eight years later, there is finally some talk of the midseason classic coming to the Triangle.

WRALSportsFan.com reports that the league may send representatives to Raleigh in the coming months to access whether the region is ready to host the game, perhaps as soon as 2012.

The main reason for the delay in the Hurricanes hosting the All-Star Game has been the Triangle's lack of high-end hotels that would be needed to house the influx of people who attend a weekend in the host city. But there has been improvement in that area and — coupled with the completion of the new Raleigh Convention Center that would allow for ample meeting space for league officials — it appears the upgrades may finally have put the wheels in motion on the All-Star bid.

There will be no All-Star Game next season because the league will shut down so NHL players can participate in the Winter Olympics. Phoenix — if there's still a franchise there in two seasons, which is not a lock given the front-office shuffling and rumors of money problems — is expected to get the game in 2011. The Coyotes missed its chance to host in 2006 because of the league's commitment to playing in the Olympics. Atlanta hosted the event last season after missing out on their originally scheduled year in 2005 because of the lockout.

Given Raleigh's success hosting the 2004 Entry Draft and 2006 Stanely Cup title, plus the improvement in the aforementioned facilities, it seems the Canes may finally get their shot, maybe just 11 years after it was promised.