The NHL announced Monday afternoon that All-Star Weekend is going to expand from two to three days.
In the official press release, the NHL announced that in addition to the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 2nd, and the All-Star Game on Saturday, February February 3rd, there will be “NHL All-Star Thursday” on February 1st, 2024.
As part of All-Star Thursday, the NHL is bringing back the Player Draft. Recall the NHL held the Player Draft on three occasions. The first was in Raleigh in 2011 with the second being in 2012 in Ottawa and the last time the draft was held was in 2015 in Columbus.
During the first NHL All-Star Player Draft, Phil Kessel was the last man picked.
In honour of the All-Star Draft returning, we had to throw it back to the time Phil Kessel was drafted last in 2011 🤣 pic.twitter.com/YQ0teI5Ii7
— BarDown (@BarDown) November 28, 2023
The 2012 NHL All-Star Player Draft was run smoother and did not have players sit around longer than they needed to be. Then in 2015, Alex Ovechkin brought a sign as he wanted to be picked last so he could win a new car.
Ovechkin stole the show at the all-star draft. Absolutely hilarious. Great sign. pic.twitter.com/Gm7ufCDGo7
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 24, 2015
The Player Draft will have four captains for the four All-Star teams, who will be paired with celebrity captains and will select their teams from the remaining pool of All-Star players, in a televised draft on NHL All-Star Thursday that will compete on Saturday.
The NHL is hoping to rejuvenate All-Star Weekend in Toronto with the Player Draft. Following the Player Draft on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena, the NHL Alumni Keith Magnuson Man of the Year, Honouring the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs along with the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase.
NHL.com: “We’ve decided to add a third night to an already vibrant weekend,” NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer said. “We felt like this was a year to make some changes, and Thursday night is one of many other changes that you’re going to hear about in the coming weeks.”
According to Steve Mayer the COO of the NHL, they are even spicing up the draft since it will be held on the ice of Scotiabank Arena.
“Not to give too much away, but our players will be in street clothes and skates,” Mayer said. “They’re not going to be wearing uniforms. They’ll be dressed up. But we’re going to have them put their skates on, and when they get picked, they’ll skate over to their new team. So that’s going to be fun.”
In addition, the NHL will be revamping the Skills Competition, going back to its roots of more hockey-based skills rather than what the fans have seen in years past.