5 Ways to Improve NHL All-Star Game
How many hockey fans actually care about the NHL All-Star game?
Interest in the NHL All-Star game has been dwindling as of late, especially with superstars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin not participating in this year's game.
Overall, the All-Star game lacks what every hockey fan has come to love about the game of hockey—there is no hitting, no defense and no fighting. As a result, tons of goals are scored and the feeling of the game is less of a competitive event and more of a figure skating exhibition.
The NHL could bring interest back to the All-Star game, but only if they are willing to make some changes to the game itself.
These are the five ways to improve next year's NHL All-Star game.
Make It Count
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What better way to drive up interest among players and fans alike than to make the All-Star game worth something?
It's meaningless if the game is just played for fun.
Some of the best goals have been remembered not only because of the amount of skill it took to create them, but because of what was on the line when they were scored.
Factor in a reason to play the game.
Bring back the Western and Eastern conference teams and grant the winner home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals. The MLB did it to increase interest in their All-Star game, and it worked.
Imagine a game where the best in the world played against one another for the coveted price of home-ice advantage.
It would makes for some really good hockey.
Let Fans Pick the Teams
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What better way to get the fans more involved or more interested in the game than to let them pick the teams?
The current format is a little stale as two captains pick players to fill their roster as the fans look on and hope their favorite players get paired together.
This proposal will allow fans to vote not only on whole makes the All-Star game but as to which team they will be on.
Getting the fans more involved might be the first step to increasing interest not only from NHL fans but from sports fans in general.
Move the Game Outdoors
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What if the NHL held its All-Star game outdoors?
The publicity it would receive would be above and beyond current NHL All-Star games. Not only that, the number of fans that could attend would double in size and so would the television audience.
Yes, their might be some critics to this saying that outdoor hockey games should not be overused. But, in the case of an All-Star game where the sole purpose is the attract fans, this idea should not be thrown to the side.
Fans love the NHL's Winter Classic. Bring the All-Star game outside and the NHL will see a dramatic increase in interest, as well.
Generate National Pride
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The current format of captains picking players was good for one year, but it has gotten old fast.
Let's inject some national pride into the teams.
Bring back the World vs. North America teams, where a sense of national pride was on the line for the players and the fans. That would surely lead to higher ratings and a renewed interest in the NHL All-Star game.
Or the NHL could take it even a step further.
Instead of just an NHL All-Star game, why not have NHL All-Stars vs. European All-Stars? It would bring an even bigger fan interest as national pride would be on the line for one little exhibition game.
Motivate the Players
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Whenever hockey players set skate to ice for an All-Star game, their mindset is to just have fun and put on a show for the fans.
But what if the game meant more than that for a player? What if there was something on the line that could entice the players to put their all into an All-Star game?
This motivation could come in the form of cash and/or prizes.
If a player scores a goal, he gets a prize. If the goaltender makes "X" amount of saves, he gets a prize.
Little things like this could motivate players to not only up their level of play, but it would also have them focus on winning the hockey game.