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New Year overflowing with special events for Las Vegas fans

Beyond the staples of the Las Vegas sports scene, the city will host several other sporting events in 2022 that are sure to create a buzz.

Here is a Christmas Day stocking stuffer’s list of goodies.

So why is the Las Vegas Bowl listed? Because next year’s game will host a Southeastern Conference team for the first time in 22 years.

Then why not include the Pac-12 football championship game, you ask? Good question. It very well could be a more permanent fixture after a successful first year at Allegiant Stadium.

Of course, with all these events, COVID-19 could interfere. Our holiday wish is that it won’t.

East-West Shrine Bowl

East Wide receiver Terry Godwin II (4), of Georgia, stiff arms West cornerback Jordan Wyatt (23 ...
East Wide receiver Terry Godwin II (4), of Georgia, stiff arms West cornerback Jordan Wyatt (23), of SMU, after a reception during the first half of the East West Shrine football game Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

When: Feb. 3

Where: Allegiant Stadium

The details: It is behind only the Senior Bowl in stature among college football all-star games. Pro Football Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, John Elway and Lawrence Taylor are among those who have participated. Tom Brady is the most notable active player to appear on an East-West roster. The game was played 10 years in a row in St. Petersburg, Florida, before COVID earlier this year forced a brief hiatus. It was moved to Las Vegas to be part of Pro Bowl week.

Rating the event: Three of five stars. It’s a prestigious college all-star game, but the most important part for NFL scouts is the practice and not the game.

NHL All-Star Weekend

Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (88) battles for the puck with Golden Knights forward Max ...
Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak (88) battles for the puck with Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty (67) in the NHL hockey All Star final game Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

When: Feb. 4-5

Where: T-Mobile Arena

The details: This is the chance to see such stars as Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and Auston Matthews at the same time. A skills competition takes place Feb. 4, and the league is seriously considering having it on the Strip. Included are events such as faster skater, hardest shot and save streak. The next day, a three-on-three tournament among all-stars in the league’s four divisions will be at T-Mobile.

Rating the event: Five stars. If the skills competition takes place on the Strip, that alone would be worth the top rating.

Pro Bowl

AFC cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20), of the Jacksonville Jaguars, scores in front of NFC cornerbac ...
AFC cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20), of the Jacksonville Jaguars, scores in front of NFC cornerback Kyle Fuller (23), of the Chicago Bears, during the second half of the NFL Pro Bowl football game Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

When: Feb. 6

Where: Allegiant Stadium

The details: Predicting who will play is always a challenge because of injury opt-outs and other issues. But Brady, Jonathan Taylor and Aaron Donald are among the players scheduled to participate. The Pro Bowl was supposed to be in Las Vegas last year before COVID reared its ugly head and prompted officials to make it a virtual event.

Rating the event: Two stars. Yes, it’s really cool having the Pro Bowl here, but NFL players annually beg out of the game, which is more touch than tackle football.

NFL draft

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray shows off his new jersey after the Arizona Cardinals selected ...
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray shows off his new jersey after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

When: April 28-30

Where: Strip

The details: The draft was supposed to be in Las Vegas two years ago before COVID emerged and made it a remote event. Las Vegas had planned a lavish presentation in which players and their families were ferried by boat across the Bellagio fountains. Similar plans are in the works for 2022, but what all the city plans remains to be seen. Provided the pandemic isn’t the monster that it’s been the past two years, expect huge crowds. Heck, they might come anyway. About 600,000 fans turned out in 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rating the event: Five stars. Well, duh, of course.

Notre Dame-Brigham Young

Notre Dame's Logan Diggs (22) runs past Georgia Tech's Quez Jackson (4) for a touchdown during ...
Notre Dame's Logan Diggs (22) runs past Georgia Tech's Quez Jackson (4) for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

When: Oct. 8

Where: Allegiant Stadium

The details: College football neutral-site games are likely to become as common here as the college basketball games, and getting a storied team like Notre Dame is a real coup for Las Vegas. The Fighting Irish and Cougars have strong, national fan bases, and this game will sell out quickly, though this is technically a Notre Dame home game. This game is part of the Shamrock Series in which Notre Dame wears alternate uniforms at an off-site.

Rating the event: Five stars. The state’s college football attendance record almost certainly will fall.

Las Vegas Bowl

Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen, left center, and incoming head coach Jimmy Lake, ...
Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen, left center, and incoming head coach Jimmy Lake, left, hold up the winning trophy after defeating the Boise State Broncos 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl football game at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images

When: TBA

Where: Allegiant Stadium

The details: A Southeastern Conference team will go opposite the Pac-12 representative. It’s only the second time an SEC team will appear in the bowl, but the first one — Arkansas in 2000 against UNLV — wasn’t contractually committed. An SEC team was supposed to appear in 2020 before COVID, again of course, got in the way. That conference rotates with the Big Ten to oppose the Pac-12 through 2025.

Rating the event: Three of five stars. Depends on the matchup, so the rating is right down the middle. Southern California against Florida would be top notch. Oregon State against Mississippi State, not so much.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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