Five changes to the NHL All-Star Game that would benefit the fans

The NHL All-Star game is coming up. With that in mind, there are a number of changes that could make for a more entertaining game for fans. From adding more players to maybe even changing when the game takes place, the NHL definitely can make the all-star game a fun event for all viewers.

In 2016 the NHL started making the All-Star game a tournament among four divisional teams in the league. While that was fun to watch for a few years, I think it is time to make a few more changes to benefit the NHL fans.

Five changes to the NHL All-Star Game that would benefit the fans

Before we begin, I want to point out that some of these ideas are going to take some explaining, so stick with me on it. Without further ado, let’s dive in with the list.

1. Add more players.

This is pretty cut and dry. The NHL is comprised of 32 teams. Currently, every team has one player drafted to the all-star game, with the rest being chosen by a fan vote. In 2023, the all-star game has 44 players competing, 11 from each of the divisions. However, things are changing a bit with Bo Horvat getting traded to the New York Islanders and different players not participating due to injuries.

Adding more players makes the most sense to market more stars. There are a lot of talented players in the NHL, and the best way to show them off would be by having more of them at this event.

2. Bring in an alumni team.

I like the three-on-three format. One change that I think would be fun just for the heck of it is an alumni team. While they might not be as fast as the stars on the ice, watching some retired stars lace up the skates for a three-on-three game would be fun.

3. Not every team needs a player at the games.

Not every team would need a player at the games. With an alumni team and different opportunities to include every franchise, I do not think teams that truly are tanking should have one player compete just to have a player from every team. I am not trying to knock some of the stars this season who are from poor teams, but teams should not be penalized for having more than one or two-star players.

4. Keep the tournament format.

I like the idea of a three-on-three tournament, and with the addition of an alumni team, we currently sit at five teams to compete. To make the tournament work properly, we need another opponent, which brings me to my proposed sixth team: the champions team. This would be composed of the previous season’s Stanley Cup Championship squad.

With the format being three on three, I think the 11 best players from the championship team could actually put together a decent all-star team. This would also make the skills competition more useful in coming up with the seeding, as the top two teams would get first-round byes.

5. Change the timing of the All-Star game.

If you thought my first four ideas were crazy, wait until you hear this one. I propose the NHL changes when they host the all-star game. Rather than host the event during the month of February, the league could have it right before the start of the new season. This way, the all-star game could also act as the beginning of the season media availability and would act as a great introduction to the new year.

The preseason would not really be interrupted. Teams would still be able to watch their younger prospects during the preseason and can work their stars in around the all-star game.

The NHL is competing with the NFL this weekend for their all-star game. That is not a recipe for success. Having the all-star game during the season right when things are about to heat up with the trade deadline and push for the playoffs does not make sense. If the league were to move the games right ahead of the new season, they would make it an even bigger marketing event.

There would be a lot of hope around basically every team going into the new season, and all the stars would be rested up after the offseason. I am sure there are reasons why this won’t happen, but it would be a nice thought.