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Tampa hosting 2018 All-Star Game is ‘a little bittersweet’ for Steven Stamkos

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 26: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 26, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Lightning shutout the Devils 4-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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For the second time in the their history, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be hosting an All-Star Game.

That’s great news for a non-traditional hockey market that has come a long way, but the fact that there’s an All-Star Game at all in 2018 means that NHL players won’t be heading to the Olympics.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is thrilled for the organization, but he didn’t hide his disappointment about NHLers not being able to go to South Korea next winter.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Stamkos said, per the Tampa Times. “If there’s the Olympics, then the (All-Star Game) doesn’t come to Tampa, so it’s a double-edged sword. If it comes to the point where there’s no Olympics, I couldn’t think of a better place to host the game. We’ve proven the hockey market that we are, how great we are. I think it’d be a great time.”

Unlike some other Canadian superstars, Stamkos hasn’t had the pleasure of suiting up for Canada at the Olympics.

At the 2010 Games, he was selected as a reserve player for his country. He was also forced to miss the Sochi Games in 2014 because he suffered a broken tibia a few months before the start of the tournament.

If the NHL owners don’t reconsider their position before the 2022 Olympics, Stamkos might never have a chance to suit up for his country on that stage.