The All Star game used to be a pretty dull and meaningless affair not taken seriously by either players or fans. That is until the NHL got hold of it and came up with another entertainment fest. For the first time in years the All Star game was actually interesting and for the first time ever the whole build up was.
By having captains pick the teams it offered many a new and interesting story line by pitting team-mate against team-mate and even brother against brother. Many fans were intrigued by how Henrik and Daniel Sedin would fare against the world’s best players whilst on opposing teams. The captains pick system also ensured a sense a fun by sending the players back to their youth of pick up games where the unpopular kids were last to be picked, in this case Phil Kassels.
The success of the NHL All Star game (where many other sports have tried and failed) is yet more proof that the NHL is getting it right with the fans. Following on in the footsteps of the NHL Premier Europe Series that drew in fans from all over Europe and the Winter Classic where even the weather helped by forcing the game to be played at night during prime time on national television.
What makes this run of success seem extra special is that the NHL have struck accord between appeasing traditional hockey fans and being innovative to attract new fans and with Crosby missing it goes to show that it is about the game and not any individual.