For the 63rd official time, the National Hockey League will hold the All-Star Game on January 28, 2018. Started back in 1947, the NHL All-Star Game has gone through a multitude of formats. From 1947 through 1968, the game usually featured the previous season’s Stanley Cup champions taking on a team of all-stars from across the league. 1951 and 1952 actually featured two all-star teams, one with players from American-based teams and one with players from Canadian-based teams. From 1969-2010, however, the format has been some iteration of Eastern Conference versus Western Conference with the inclusion of fan voting. Starting in 2010-11, the format was changed to a fantasy-sports-inspired draft, involving a draft performed by team captains in order to make up a team roster. Despite the emphasis on a popular fantasy draft format, the ratings for the All-Star games up until 2015 with this format were not great. Citing the need for a drastic change in order to generate more interest, the 2016 All-Star Game was changed to a 3-on-3 tournament featuring a team representing each of the NHL’s four divisions. Utilizing 10-minute halves to keep the pace quick and the games shorter, the new format has been a hit during its first two years.
2018’s All-Star Game will be held in Tampa, Florida with the city’s Tampa Bay Lightning acting as the host team. Taking place in AMALIE Arena, the 3-on-3 tournament format will continue. The game will be preceded by the NHL All-Star Skills Competition, taking place on Saturday, January 27, 2018.