All-Star Weekend is always one of the most anticipated weekends of the hockey season, with some of the NHL's best converging on Toronto for the festivities. Sebastian Aho was the Hurricanes' lone representative this season, marking the third appearance of his career. While he was present for the draft on Thursday and the games on Saturday, his absence on Friday marked the end of a streak for the Hurricanes.
Stepping on the red carpet on Thursday, Sebastian Aho, more specifically his turtleneck, was the talk of the pre-draft festivities. The Canes' star was certainly one of the best-dressed players on his way into the arena. Aho's sense of style enamored many on social media, though we Caniacs expected nothing less.
Once he was inside the arena, the next step was awaiting which team he'd be playing for on Saturday. With the 14th pick in the draft, Aho was selected by Tate McRae, Team MacKinnon's celebrity coach, in one of the best moments of the night. His team, captained by Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, features many other players from the Metropolitan Division, including Sidney Crosby, Tom Wilson, and Travis Konecny, as well as former teammate and the newest member of the Vancouver Canucks, Elias Lindholm.
Before the skills competition on Friday, Sebastian Aho was in attendance as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the 4 Nations Face-Off to take place next February. Aho, as the lone All-Star from Finland, along with Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, and Elias Pettersson, representing the USA, Canada, and Sweden, respectively, expressed their excitement for a best-on-best tournament. The commissioner also announced NHL players would be involved in the Winter Olympics in 2026 and 2030, meaning Aho will likely get a few more chances to represent Finland on a larger stage.
The skills competition is always my favorite part of All-Star Weekend, but the change in formatting meant an important streak was coming to an end. For the last three years, a Hurricane has won an event at the skills competition. In 2020, Jaccob Slavin shocked the field by winning the Accuracy Shooting contest. In 2022, after not having an All-Star game in 2021, Sebastian Aho doubled down by going 4-for-4 to win the same competition. Last season, Andrei Svechnikov earned the title of Fastest Skater.
This year, only 12 All-Stars were picked to compete in the skills competition. Unfortunately, Sebastian Aho wasn't one of the 12, meaning the Hurricanes weren't able to extend their streak. Honestly, it might not have mattered because Connor McDavid dominated the field, winning four competitions and taking home $1 million. I wasn't the biggest fan of the format change, especially since it didn't allow the chance for the entire All-Star roster to showcase its talents. I'd probably be more upset if not for the league announcing something new for next season and the Winter Olympics cutting into the following season.
For All-Star Saturday, Sebastian Aho rolled up in style, sporting a slick red blazer with "Cause Chaos" engraved on the collar. As for his team, it was a quick one. Team MacKinnon led 3-1 late in the second half, but Team McDavid scored twice in the final 31.5 seconds before winning it in a shootout to snap Aho's undefeated streak. Aho played between Washington's Tom Wilson and Minnesota's Kirill Kaprizov. He finished with a shot on goal in 7:25, playing the third-most on his team. As we're used to seeing from Aho in a Hurricanes uniform, he spent most of his time trying to set up his teammates. It was a tough end to an otherwise fun weekend.