The History behind the All-Star Hockey Game

Every year, the most celebrated players in the league pit their talent against each other in a star-studded exhibition game. While the general perception of this game is often that of a rather frivolous spectacle, recent changes seem to have revitalized an event that was slowly losing traction.

After all, the purpose of this annual matchup was to benefit the pension fund of each player, and many fans seemed to be losing interest in a lackluster format. That is to say; television statistics illustrate how a paltry 1.2 million people watched the game back in 2012 while just two years ago, this same statistic was 1.3 million.

Typically held in January, the All-Star game coincides with the midway point of the hockey league season in various locations across North America. Initially, the format for these games was a truly exciting prospect with the Stanley Cup Champions, the Toronto Maple Leafs, taking on a selection of the very best NHL star players in 1947.

However, while the All-Star game continued to produce many memorable moments in the time since, it would appear that a changing format has had a negative impact regarding interest from the public. Among the most recent of such formats allocated specified captains to form two teams just two days before the game and this was the process which accounted for the rather poor statistics outlined above for 2015.

At the same time, the All-Star game has contributed immensely to many important causes over the years, from Hod Stewart, Ace Bailey, Howie Morenz and Babe Siebert. Furthermore, it could be said that the frequent changes or even failures can be credited with how the NHL has recently identified an improved format.

Featuring four All-Star teams from each of the four divisions, the new format is a single elimination process which has captured the imagination of fans. With this in mind, television statistics show that more than 1.6 million fans tuned in to see the All-star game in 2017 while both the entertaining and competitive nature of this game was an obvious contrast to previous years.

When you consider the historical significance of the All-star hockey game, it was only a matter of time before this exhibition re-emerged from the shadows. And as the general perception of this star-studded spectacle begins to shift, it would seem that the spirit of the All-Star hockey game has finally returned.

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