Could 2018 NHL All-Star Game bring major concert festival to Tampa?
In case you missed the news this week, Tampa is reportedly the top choice to host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game, which would bring one of hockey's premiere events to town for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Anytime a big-time sporting event comes to town -- the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff's National Championship, even a PGA tournament -- that means big-time music is probably coming, too. And the NHL All-Star Game would be no different.
For this year's NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, performers included John Legend, Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony, Robin Thicke, Carly Rae Jepsen, Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik teamed up for performances at various galas and during the game itself. Jon Hamm also made an appearance.
Last year in Nashville, the festivities had, as you might expect, a strong country feel. Performers included Vince Gill, Jennifer Nettles, Lee Brice, Lennon & Maisy and more. There was a free four-day outdoor concert series with Big and Rich, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Kelsea Ballerini, Aaron Lewis, Eli Young, John Hiatt and more, with an indoor series featuring Tracy Lawrence, Lonestar, MercyMe, Charles Esten, Clare Bown and many more.
You can go back through the years -- some have -- and look at past musical moments from the NHL All-Star Game. There was Fall Out Boy in 2015, Bryan Adams in 1998, even Drake in 2012. Even Tampa has seen this before -- when the game was last here in 1999, the league snagged the white-hot Backstreet Boys to sing the national anthem.
It's not a done deal that Tampa will get the game -- there are timing issues to sort out related to the 2018 Winter Olympics and Tampa's Gasparilla Parade -- but the NHL is bullish that it could happen.
"The city can house a world-class event," NHL executive vice president Steve Mayer said in December. "It's proving it time after time after time."
That said, which Canadian artists would you like to see come to town, perhaps singing O Canada before the puck drops? Justin Bieber? Arcade Fire? The Weeknd? Nickelback? Avril Lavigne? Gordon Lightfoot?
-- Jay Cridlin