The Premier Hockey Federation has just announced that the 2022 All-Star Showcase, originally scheduled to take place in Toronto on Jan. 29, has been moved to Buffalo as a result of COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario.
Given the current state of things with the Omicron COVID-19 variant and Ontario’s approach to controlling and minimizing the impact of the pandemic, this hardly comes as a surprise. Truth be told, as we drew closer to the showcase weekend, this felt like it was all but inevitable. Needless to say, there are no guarantees this event will take place until we are essentially moments away from puck drop of the first game.
The PHF today announced that the 2022 PHF All-Star Showcase originally scheduled to be hosted in Toronto on Saturday, January 29 has been relocated to Buffalo as a result of COVID-19 restrictions in the Province of Ontario.— PHF (@PHF) January 12, 2022
Details: https://t.co/C1KUnJBM91 pic.twitter.com/62EdEr9YYw
From the league’s release on the relocation:
“The All-Star Showcase is an important opportunity for our athletes to display their talent and skill, but also for our passionate fans to celebrate the very best in the PHF,” said PHF Commissioner Tyler Tumminia. “Given Ontario’s current restrictions we made the determination that shifting the event across the border to Buffalo provides more clarity for our planning to ensure a special experience can be delivered for our athletes. Our appreciation is extended to the Beauts and the team at Northtown Center for their accommodation under these timelines. I’d also like to acknowledge the Six and the team at Canlan Sports – York who have been tremendous partners throughout this process. We look forward to returning the PHF All-Star Showcase to Toronto in 2023.”
As it turns out, this news comes just a day after we learned that the Buffalo Beauts swept the PHF Fan Vote, sending four more Beauts to the showcase. So, Beauts fans have even more reason to be buzzing and looking forward to the showcase.
Buffalo becomes the first city to host its second PHF/NWHL All-Star event — it was the host city of the 2016 NWHL All-Star Weekend. Northtown Center, the home of the Beauts, will host the three 15-minute games (10 minutes of 5-on-5 and 5 minutes of 3-on-3 followed by a shootout). As noted in Tyler Tumminia’s quote above, the league’s plan is to make Toronto the All-Star destination next year. Of course, given these uncertain times with sporting events, we will have to wait and see if that comes to fruition. All such plans are written in pencil with an eraser nearby.
The league noted that tickets for the event will be going on sale in the coming days, which means that the plan — for the moment — is to have fans attend on Jan. 29. The games will be streamed on ESPN+ for U.S. viewers, on TSN and TSN Direct subscribers for Canadian viewers.