The NHL’s new All-Star format may not feature all the league’s stars, but it will come with faster pace and a hefty payout for the winners.

A three-on-three tourney with a $1 million prize replacing the usual game is meant to up the competition.

Sadly, this also means bidding adieu to the entertaining and tipsy fun of the Fantasy Draft.

 

The Game

The new format, instead, pits divisions against one another for a three-game tourney Sunday–with the Pacific Division and Central Division facing off for 20 minutes and the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions challenging one another for the next 20 minutes. The two winners will then play each other for the final $1 million jackpot.

 


I’ll certainly second the desire to send that money to charity. There are a plethora of worthy organizations, but I might be inclined to suggest, perhaps, a charity supporting victims of domestic violent and sexual assault. In just the past couple seasons, several NHL players have been convicted, charged, and/or accused of these atrocities, and it would benefit the league, its fans, and society to see support for victims.

That said, there are wounded veterans, sick children, unadopted puppies, lacking youth hockey programs, etc., that could use a financial boost as well.

The Players

In changing the game format, player selection has been adjusted as well. This means a change to the fan vote system, which last year was a six-player free-for-all that brought five Blackhawks players and Buffalo Sabre Zemgus Girgensons by way of the eagerly-voting home country, Latvia.

It yielded the following gem:

Now, fans will choose one player from each division, regardless of position. That player will then captain his team–the rest of which is selected by the NHL Hockey Operations Department. According to an NHL press release, at least one player will be selected from each team.

We could pretty easily argue this process would leave out the most talented players in the league–as there’s solid evidence some divisions are top-heavy with scoring talent. However, it’s likely an advantage to fans to see each team represented.

The total 44 players will make up six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders per team for the three-on-three tourney. The winningest coaches (based on the most points) in each division on Jan. 9 will coach each team.

The new format will open up space on the ice and force more activity at the net, as witnessed in overtime games so far this season. Each matchup will switch sides halfway through their game.

“Anything to promote any sort of intensity or excitement during the game is good,” Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews said.

Skills Competition

Thankfully, one unchanged aspect of All-Star Weekend is the skills competition, where the Eastern and Western Conferences will face off with a battle of their talents.

This event, which typically features accuracy, speed, shootouts, relays, and a hardest shot competition, will determine a “winning” conference. The winner, East or West, will then decide which division plays first on Sunday, according to an NHL press release.

In Nashville

This is Nashville’s first time hosting the All-Star activities and they have four days of activities planned for visitors with their 2016 NHL Fan Fair.

The Music City Center is being transformed into 250,000 square feet of interactive hockey fun sponsored by Bridgestone, according to an NHL press release.

From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. CT Thursday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Jan. 29 and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, an NHL fan pass allows access to:

  • NHL Mascots
  • A photo with the Stanley Cup
  • An NHL Trophy Showcase, including the Hart, Vezina, Norris, and others
  • Meet-and-greet past and present hockey legends
  • NHL player Q&A at the NHL Fan Fair Theater
  • Visit the “Hockey in the State of Tennessee” Hall of Fame exhibit
  • Test shooting accuracy in the Bridgestone Shootout
  • Live music performances nightly
  • Create-your-own Upper Deck trading card
  • Test your hockey skills in the Honda All-Star skills zone
  • Collect rare hockey memorabilia
  • Take kids to the McDonald’s Kid’s Zone
  • Lace up on the outdoor ice rink constructed for the All-Star Weekend

Price (Single Day)
$20 Adult
$15 Children (Ages 3 to 12)
$15 Seniors (Ages 65 and over)
$15 College/Military (must show ID at entrance)
Children 2 and under: Free
Four Day Mobile Pass
$60 (Good for One Entry Each Day of Operation)

 

Everywhere

Live television coverage of the Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition starts at 6 p.m. CT Saturday, Jan. 30 and the Honda  NHL All-Star Tournament starts at 5 p.m. CT Sunday, Jan. 31 on NBCSN in the U.S. and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

 

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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