Another NHL season is halfway over and there’s been a lot to be excited about. Most teams are still in the playoff race and have another 40 games to secure a Stanley Cup Playoff birth.

But before we get to that, it’s important for the players to get a little rest, relaxation, and recognition for their high caliber play thus far. That’s where the NHL All-Star Weekend comes in. Just like in years past, 2018 will bring three days of fun and spectacle, celebrating the league’s best players. Let’s take a look at what to expect during this event at the end of January.

When & Where is the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend?

The annual All-Star weekend kicks off on Friday, January 26 and runs through Sunday, January 28. This year, the festivities will take place at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

A quick note: If you’re planning on attending the weekend’s Saturday festivities in person, be advised that Tampa Bay hosts the Gasparilla Parade, which brings over 200,000 people to the downtown area. This will make traffic extremely heavy for most of the day and the NHL advises guests to arrive at Amalie prior to 11 AM.

NHL All-Star Weekend Tickets

NHL All-Star Weekend Events

While there will be fun, free events for all the local attendees throughout the weekend, the main highlights will occur on Saturday with the GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Challenge and Sunday with the Honda NHL All-Star Game.

GEICO NHL All-Star Skills Challenge

Fastest Skater

This first event is pretty self-explanatory. Players will compete to be the fastest skater around a designated course within the hockey rink. Defending champion Connor McDavid did last year’s course in 13.310 seconds.

Accuracy Shooting

Four targets. Four corners of the goal. The object of this event is to hit all four corner targets as fast as possible. Last year, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby did it in five attempts, taking just 10.73 seconds to do so.

Skills Challenge Relay

This event pits teams from each NHL division against each other in a skills relay format involving five different challenges. The challenges consist of the following:
One Timers: three shooters must each score three goals from various offensive zone areas
Passing: a player must complete a pass into six, small nets positioned in different areas on the ice
Puck Control Relay: one player with the puck must skate through a series of cones (last year, the cones were Gatorade bottles)
Stick Handling: one player controls a puck through a series of pucks on the ice
Goalie goals: a goaltender must make a shot from his own goal to the opposing goal

The fastest team to complete the relay wins.

Hardest Shot

Another self-explanatory event. The player with the hardest recorded shot wins. Zdeno Chara holds the record for his 108.8 mph blast back in 2012 but last year’s win belonged to Shea Weber (102.8).

NHL Shootout

This event involves six skaters from each division team trying to score on the opposing team’s goalie. Points are gathered with each goal scored during the three, two-minute rounds. When time runs out, the team with the highest point total wins. Goals scored with normal game pucks equal one point and Discover shootout pucks equal two points.

Four Line Challenge

The newest event in the skills challenged debuted last year. The purpose of the event is for four skaters from each division team to earn points through scoring goals from each line on the ice. The first skater takes two shots from near the blue line with goals hitting the upper corners worth one point. The second skater takes two shots from center ice. Goals in lower corners equal one point and upper corners equal three points.

The third skater takes two shots from the far blue line. Goals in the lower center “five hole” area equal one point and upper corners equal five points. The final skater takes two shots from far goal line and a five-hole goal equals 10 points. If a goalie makes it, however, it’s worth 20 points.

NHL All-Star Game 3v3 Tournament

Now let’s get to the main event. On Sunday, teams from each division will face off in a 3-on-3 tournament. There will be two rounds and the winners from the first round will meet in the final round with a shot at winning it all. Each game consists of two, 10-minute halves. If the game is tied after 20 minutes, the game goes to an immediate three-round shootout to determine a winner.

Other than that, all regular NHL rules apply. When the pace of play starts picking up, it feels almost as exciting as a 3-on-3 overtime period in a regular season game. It’s definitely worth a watch.

We’re so close to another exciting year of all-star festivities so keep your eyes on SeatGeek for more information about all things NHL All-Star Weekend. That includes tickets, which you can find updated prices for right here.

(Cropped image courtesy Walter via Flickr.)