The 2012 NHL All Star Game is set to be played on January 29, 2012 at Scotiabank Park in Ottawa, Ontario. Here is my question. How many people really care about the All Star Game? My opinion on this topic is irrelevant. To put it simply, I love/hate the All Star Game. I am playing the devil’s advocate on both sides just to see how other fans of hockey feel about the All Star Game. Let’s begin.
Now I realize that last year the All Star Game was played here in Carolina. The city of Raleigh, NC did a fantastic job of hosting the event. I know as Carolina Hurricane fans, we were treated to having Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, Jamie McBain and Cam Ward represent the Hurricanes. The city was buzzing, fans excited, newspaper articles daily, televisions were on, etc. etc. But how about now? Will you be turning on the All Star Game, or setting your DVR to record it, or will you simply catch the highlights. Will the one player the Hurricanes had selected to the rookie team, Justin Faulk, keep you intrigued? If a Hurricane player was not on the roster, would you still watch?
How about the style of play that takes place during the game. Is it exciting to watch the defensive players pillow fight instead of checking? Do the forwards putting on a deke-a-thon do it for you? I love seeing the spectacular shots that these players attempt in a game. Do you like seeing 60 minutes of it? Now so far it might come across to you that I am not in favor of the All Star Game. That is not the case. I am just stating what goes on during this game.
One of the major reasons why the All Star Game is such a fantastic event is from the standpoint that most of the proceeds made during the All Star Game weekend benefit the pension fund of the players. As Sally Brown stated in her article today, hockey really is a “Brotherhood”. These skillful players put on a show to bring fans to the rink, who spend their money to see a spectacle, that benefits the players both past and future. If that isn’t taking care of “your own”, then I don’t know what is.
Would you like to see the game carry more meaning? In baseball, the winning team, either the National or American League, gets to have home field advantage during the World Series. If the NHL All Star Game meant that the winning conference received home ice advantage would more people watch the game? If that were to ever happen, we would no longer have the “draft” for each conferences all star team. I am sure that if the all star game were to carry that much weight, the pace and aggressiveness would definitely increase. The other side of that sword is if your star player gets hurt during the game. I don’t need to tell you how you would feel about that.
What happens here in a couple more years when the Winter Olympics return? What if you are having your best year as a player, and it falls on the same year as the Winter Olympics? Would you be upset if you didn’t get to see that player play, or would you be content if he was skating on your countries team in the Olympics? The revenue that is created for a city is a major plus. Businesses do great, and it puts a spark into that city. It also draws people to the sport that may have brushed it aside in the past.
The NHL is on the right path to making the All Star Game more interesting. There are many events that take place during the weekend that draw in thousands of fans. Hardest slap shot, trick-shot, and fastest skater are a few of the more popular events. So Caniacs and all fans of hockey, what do you think?
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