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Most of us consider the Holy Grail of hockey to be the Stanley Cup. But really, it’s attainable, we all know where it is, we’ve all seen it wether live or in person, and we know by exactly what day on the hockey calendar it’s going to appear. So really, wouldn’t the REAL Holy Grail be this: How do we make the NHL All Star Game more exciting ?

After all, nobody has figured it out yet, and nobody really knows if an answer even exists at all. It’s something that’s baffled the great minds of the hockey world for years.¬†Until now.

I know that it’s one of those subjects that a lot of us adult hockey fans don’t really care too much about. Lots of us moan and groan when late January comes around and that little break in the schedule approaches. But doesn’t that say something ? Doesn’t that say that there’s room for improvement ?

So here’s my thinking.

Every year there’s ideas thrown around on how to change the format. The league has even tried to go Team Euro vs Team North America, to no avail. Currently, the league is experimenting with two team captains being named and having them choose their teams like we all did back in gym class. Can you not hear the sigh of relief by Keith Tkachuk that this format is being used AFTER his retirement ? If you follow me. Anyways, not to be negative NHL but the build up to the draft will be the talk, and then most of us will tune out for the game.

But my idea is a little outside the box. Maybe it’s not about the format. Maybe it’s all in the timing. Consider this: It’s September 30th, fall is in the air, it’s the most exciting time of year for most sports fans, you’re dying for some NHL hockey and you’re thinking, ” Please God. Give me hockey. I’ll even watch the Leafs vs Sens. I mean Leafs vs Flames. And I promise I won’t swear anymore. Amen.” You would watch the All Star Game then wouldn’t you ? You would be more likely to anyways.

If you’re following me, I’m talking about having the All Star Game kick off the NHL season. Hold it on either October 1st or during the first weekend in October, and the season will officially be underway.

Let’s face it, the game is always going to be what it is: an exhibition game with not a lot of passion. The players will never take it more seriously, it’s always going to be just for fun, but hit us fans when we’re desperate for hockey ! Not when we just want the season to play on so our teams can hurry up and do their deadline buying or selling and fulfil their annual destinies.

The game itself is mostly for the kids. That’s not to say us adults can’t enjoy it, but most of us just don’t. I remember my Dad taking my brother and I to the All Star practice back in 1989 when it was in Edmonton. What an amazing experience. Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Steve Yzerman, Dino Ciccarelli, Brett Hull, Mark Messier, etc etc, all on one ice surface. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Plus we got to skip school for the day. So thanks Dad. ( In case you read this )

So for that reason, we need to keep the game around. It’s great. But trying to change the format just isn’t working. Let’s have it in the fall, have the two coaches from both Stanley Cup finalists the previous season pluck players from their own conferences, and let’s get it on. It would still be the annual extravaganza for the host city, and I’m betting a lot more of us boring, pessimistic adult fans would tune in.

Problem solved.

And I’m a jersey guy so for the love of God do Dennis Maruk and his healthy porn ‘stache a favor and go back to the old uniforms modeled in his picture above, please ?

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Im your typical sports fan. Just a little more crazy about it. I live and die for my teams and I drive my girlfriend nuts. I consider myself the world's biggest Stars fan. Ive been a fan since I was a young kid going back to the mid 80's. Favourite Stars player of all-time is of course Mike Modano. Favourite non-Stars player of all-time is Peter Stastny. I love talking sports so please leave a reply to anything you agree or disagree with. If youd like to contact me my email is traviscurrie@yahoo.ca

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In response to “MY SOLUTION ( NHL ALL STAR GAME )”

  1. Ray Burgy Jan 28 201112:51 am


    I suppose the AS game is necessary for many fans. It seems as though too many “All-Stars” would rather not be selected. I think they’d rather have the time off. This seems to be true of all sports today.
    Your idea of having it early in the season might be an excent format to revive its popularity. Unfortunatley here in the States, it would have to compete with football and the World Series if done in October. The format this year doesn’t excite me even a little. I want a team I can cheer for.
    For what ever it’s worth.

    Great article.

  2. Travis Currie Jan 28 20111:14 am


    Thanks Ray.

    Hockey is always going to have to compete. True that in October the competition may be at it’s highest, but I don’t think a lot of those people would watch anyways.

    It would be more geared towards those hockey fans that tune out for the weekend. I think it would excite more real hockey fans.

    As I write this I’m watching the 1980 All Star Game. Howe, Bossy, Gretzky, Trottier, Lafleur, Perreault, Gainey, Dionne, etc etc. And it looks like the guys actually give a damn. If you compare those guys, to the game nowadays where there’s definitely those that take it for granted, it’s kinda sad.

    1. James Centifonti Jan 28 20117:18 am


      It wouldn’t also hurt to have the NHL market itself on stations other than the “NHL Network”, Versus, or NBC and the last 2 are generally when they currently have a game on.

      Rarely I personally see them ever attempt to market the game to at least try and pick up new viewers. Most of us fans who love the sport check out the tv listings so we know when games are on and who is playing in them so we can tune in.

      1. Travis Currie Jan 28 201110:24 am


        That’s a good point as well James. There is plenty the NHL could do to attract new fans.

        I’m not sure having the game in October would have a huge effect on a new fan base wether positive or negative, but if the NHL took your advice and my advice together then the start of the season could gain more attention and possibly new fans. But it would be better for us who are already fans of the game. That’s more who this is geared towards.

        Betman is constantly doing things in favor of new fans and guys like us take a back seat. Joe Schmo in Florida who doesn’t really care about hockey would have more say than you or I because he’s a potential new fan. Who cares about us guys that are already hooked.

        I just really think having the game kick the season off would make the beginning of the season more of an event and us current fans would be more inclined to tune in. And it definitley wouldn’t hurt in attracting new fans as well. I think it would be positive all around for the most part.

        1. James Centifonti Jan 28 201110:48 am


          It could be somewhat exciting to having at that point for some if not many who love the game.

          For me the all-star just doesn’t do much and I rarely watch them. But if they could look at your suggestion and any others to make it fun to watch I’d for sure check them out.

          1. Travis Currie Jan 28 201111:02 am

            I agree James. Hit us fans when we’re dying for some hockey. I think that would be a great move. And it may just gain more attention in the sporting world as well.

  3. Christopher Rowe Jan 28 20111:08 pm


    NHL needs to market past its existing fan base as we’ve all suggested. So what about making the All-Star Break longer (say – a week) and combining it with the Winter Classic? Instead of picking two random teams and pairing them up, let’s have the NHL All-Star Game be played outdoors in a huge arena or cozy ballpark with lots of fanfare and celebration of what the game used to be? Cities can bid to host the event and you can schedule lots of peripherral events around the game. Players may actually want to participate because it is a truly unique experience celebrating their sport. Air the game on a network that people can find (or offer to simulcast or do something to pormote the game properly).

    As for the game format and meaning… that has been an issue for years in all sports. Fear of injury, players need a break, etc. So you give the players a week off and ask them to play in just one game that week. Consequence of the game is another matter.

    1. Christopher Rowe Jan 28 20111:10 pm


      oooh AND in Olympic years…the NHL should coordinate the Break so that Winter Classic pits two Olympic squads in exhibition (USA vs. Canada makes sense to me) – and play using Olympic rules and rink size AND they should do whatever they can to promote support of Olympic hockey!

  4. Travis Currie Jan 29 201112:34 am


    Hey Christopher. Thanks for posting.

    The NHL is constantly trying to cater to those who are not fans of the game already while we fans of the game get left in the dust. I agree that it is a business after all and it needs to succeed as one, but I gotta tell ya I feel slighted by the league I’ve supported since the day I was born. Every decision that’s made has potential fans in mind and us traditional hockey fans don’t matter.

    But anyways, as far as your idea, it sounds good in some aspects. But the problems I would point out are these: A week long break I think is too long, and having the All Star Game turn into the Winter Classic would limit the cities that the All Star Game can be played. I.e. this year’s game in Carolina.

    I kinda like the idea of the U.S.A vs Canada every year, but it may diminish the Olympics match up if we see it every year.

    1. Chris Jan 29 20111:54 am


      I’m a fan too.I suggested combining Winter Classic and Olympic break because the current problem is relevance of the All-Star game. All leagues have this. Being named is an honor. Playing the game is irrelevant because of injury or lack of purpose. Creating an event (even if it excludes clod weather sites) is not dissimilar to Super Bowl. NFL is considering cold weather cities for the first time after 45 years of success. How great a problem would it be to gauge which market is most lucrative? Create an event first, tweak it later

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