Upon the opening of Little Caesars Arena, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the All-Star Game would soon return to Detroit. Six years later, Detroit is still waiting.
"It's coming. It's a question of timing," Bettman said on the night of the Red Wings' first ever game at LCA, in 2017. "What I think will be the only factor ... I'd like to see the District (Detroit) finished, so that when you bring guests in from all over the world, they can see what the entire vision was and how it's played out.
"Whether that's two, three or four years, when all the construction is done, we will be here with league events, I have no doubt about that."
In the NHL's defense, the construction isn't done. There are still vacant lots around LCA, including one directly outside the arena's main entrance on Woodward Avenue. It's been fenced off and concealed by District Detroit tarping for as long as the building has been open.
Beyond the aesthetics, there's also the question of lodging and whether downtown Detroit has enough hotel space to accommodate a league-wide event. The city hasn't hosted the All-Star Game since 1980 in the Red Wings' inaugural season at Joe Louis Arena.
But hope may be on the horizon, at least for locals. The NHL is rumored to be eyeing Detroit, Seattle and Edmonton as potential sites for the 2025 All-Star Game. Which means a possible win for Hockeytown would be a loss for ... Brad Marchand?
After openly wondering on social media "how many guys boycott that game" if it does wind up in one of the aforementioned cities, Marchand, a five-time NHL All-Star, doubled down on his distaste for Detroit in a recent interview with ESPN.
After noting he was "just kind of playing around" with his initial comment on Instagram, Marchand said, "Seattle actually has beautiful views. Edmonton has phenomenal hunting, so I love Edmonton. And then Detroit is ... you know, suspect."
Marchand, who's fifth in the NHL in scoring over the past six seasons and has a point per game this season for the league-leading Bruins, said the All-Star Game is "trending in the wrong direction."
"Guys want to be in spots that are enjoyable to be in," he said. "They want to be in nice cities or warm cities. It's a long season. The game itself is a small portion of that weekend. You want to be able to enjoy it a bit. When everyone else is going on trips and enjoying themselves during the break, you don't want to be stuck in Edmonton when it's minus-30 or in Detroit. You want to be able to enjoy it.
"If you want the big superstars to go every year and be a part of it, you should put it in places where they actually want to be."
The Bruins come to LCA for the first and only time this season on Sunday. If Marchand isn't a fan of Detroit, Detroit can let him know the feeling is mutual.