There has been a lot of talk in the media lately of how the NHL should market its All-Star Game.
Different thoughts have included conducting the festivities before the season gets underway. Another idea talked about is to stage the exhibition as part of the Winter Classic.
All these ideas are to better market the NHL's current stars to the mainstream and bring hockey back to the mainstream.
These ideas seem geared toward expanding the NHL's fan base and maximizing the league's exposure nationwide.
I have this question to ask MR. Bettman: What can you do for those of us that are already avid followers of hockey?
I have this proposal that I think would satisfy the die hard fan: Bring back our past heroes.
I enjoy the Future Stars game, but what gets the hockey fan more excited: Watching Bobby Ryan feed Kyle Okposo, or Wayne Gretzky hit Mario Lemieux in the slot?
It is an easy exhibition to stage, considering it used to be done. The All-Star events are nothing more than a pick-up game to the players who are participating. This means a Legends Game does not hurt the product.
The evidence that hockey fans would like another chance to see their past heroes was there for all to see in Montreal. How many emotional standing ovations did players such as Serge Savard and Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard receive simply by appearing in the aisle at Bell Centre?
Fans do not expect Ray Bourque to skate as he did in the '80s and '90s, nor is it the point. It'd be nice one day for me to take my child to an All-Star game to let him be up close to his heroes. It would be better to be able, at the same time, to show him my idols at his age.
The fact this game does not occur at any point during the season steals these moments from the hardcore hockey fan. A demographic the NHL needs to re-engage.
This, Mr. Bettman, seems to be the perfect way to bring multiple generations of hockey fans together on All-Star weekend.