Before the NHL lockout, which lasted close to a year and a half, I was an avid fan. I spent many nights during the summer watching my Avalanche play in the playoffs, and winning multiple Stanley Cups.
But since the lockout, my interest has dissolved. It just isn’t the same anymore. I can watch maybe one, maybe two, Colorado Avalanche games a year on national television. And on ESPN, hockey is thrown on the back-burner compared to the NBA, College Basketball, and many other sports.
But as of late, my interest has been peaked, and has come flooding back.
The reason for that; their All-Star weekend format.
In most sports, players are voted on by the public, making it basically a popularity contest. Especially in the NBA, you have the washed-up big names playing in the All-Star game, where the younger, more deserving players are at home, watching the game on the couch with some Cheetos. But with the NHL, its something different.
Sure, they have the players voted in, but that is where the similarities between the NHL and the rest of the sports end.
The fans vote in a pool of players. The friday before the All-Star game, the two coaches get to pick their own team from the pool of players, like a draft. Saturday night, the two teams compete against each other in the Skills Competition. Players get a chance to show off their speed, agility, and flashiness on the ice. The weekend ends with the NHL All-Star Game.
All I have to say is “Bravo.” The league executives have hit a home-run with this format.
It adds an added excitement to the now mundane-routine that are All-Star Games in professional sports. They have injected excitement, intrigue, and showmanship that you don’t get in any other games.
I hope the other major sports take a page out of the NHL’s playbook, and look into improving the All-Star game for the players, and more importantly, the fans.