Fans of 3-on-3 hockey, rejoice!
According to a report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the NHL is expected to announce a new format for the All-Star Game Wednesday for the Jan. 31 festivities in Nashville. The biggest change in the format sees the 5-on-5, fantasy-drafted rosters from recent years scrapped in favor of going back to a conference-versus-conference format that would consist entirely of 3-on-3 hockey.
The new format, McKenzie reported, will featured three, 20-minute 3-on-3 contests that begin divisional matchups. In one game, the Metropolitan Division would take on the Atlantic Division with the other semi-final game, if you will, pitting the Central Division against the Pacific Division. Once the play-in games are complete, the winning Eastern Conference team will take on the victorious Western Conference club for all-star supremacy.
Each divisional team will consist of nine skaters and two goaltenders, so those looking to project the rosters can get out their pencils and start scratching names down on a notepad.
How the format change impacts the skills competition is yet to be seen, but the likelihood seems to be that the individual events may be played in an East vs. West format, saving the divisional contests for the 3-on-3 tournament Sunday.
This new format, however, does mean the end to the Friday night all-star draft, which has become a great event for showcasing the personalities of players over the past three all-star weekends. According to McKenzie, the players weren’t fond of the event and the new format makes the draft unnecessary.
But with the draft gone, there may be another interesting twist added: the addition of prize money. McKenzie reported there could be as much as $1 million on the line, and the winning team would split it among the players.