NY Islanders hosted 2026 All-Star Game at UBS Arena should have international flare

2024 NHL All-Star Skills
2024 NHL All-Star Skills / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

On a chilly Sunday afternoon, during the first intermission of the third-largest crowd in NHL history, New York Islanders legend Denis Potvin announced on national television that the 2026 NHL All-Star Game was headed to Long Island and UBS Arena.

The 2026 All-Star Game will be the next one for the league. Earlier this month, during All-Star Weekend in Toronto, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league would not be having an All-Star Game next season and instead unveiled plans for the 4 Nations Face-Off, a competition between Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States hosted by one Canadian and one U.S. city from February 12-20.

The league also announced plans for NHL players to return to the Winter Olympics, starting in Milan in 2026. The host city for the 2030 games is expected to be announced in July, during the Summer Olympics in Paris. The best of international hockey is back for fans everywhere around the globe to enjoy. So, what impact does that have on the 2026 All-Star Game on Long Island?

The expectation is that the 2026 All-Star weekend will serve as a launch party, according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. It'll be a way for the league to send off their All-Stars, who will also be competing for Olympic Gold in Milan from Feb. 6 - Feb. 22.

Given the way the NHL has always tweaked the formats of their All-Star games throughout the years, there's the potential for more of an international format during that weekend. Perhaps a return to North America versus the World could be in order for the game, the skills competition or maybe both.

You can also understand why UBS Arena and Belmont Park were a favorable destination for a pre-Olympics NHL event. The opening of "The Park," with its outdoor rinks and beer garden combined with the retail village that's set up to open later this summer, will give Long Island its very own Olympic Village feel ahead of the real thing days later.