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5 Reasons to Watch the 2016 Honda NHL® All-Star Game

4 min read

Hockey fans across the country will be descending on Nashville or crowding around their big-screen televisions this weekend to watch their favorite players show off their skills in the 2016 Honda NHL® All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena.

The 61st annual game kicks off at 5 p.m. EST Sunday, Jan. 31, and features 44 players (11 per division) battling it out in a 3-on-3 format, so what happens next is anybody’s guess. And that’s what makes this showcase so much fun to watch.

If you’ve been out of the loop, here are five reasons why this is one game you won’t want to miss.

The New 3-on-3 Format

The NHL is trying out a new 3-on-3 tournament format that will replace the traditional 5-on-5 element. Each of the four divisions will have 11 players—one team captain, chosen by fans, and 10 others selected by the NHL. The coaches with the most wins in each division will coach the All-Star teams. The new NHL All-Star format consists of 20-minute games, first pitting the Metropolitan against the Atlantic Division and then the Central versus the Pacific Divisions. The winning team of the final game will take home $1 million in prize money, or just under $100,000 per player. The skills competition pitting the East Coast versus West Coast will remain, with the winning conference having the opportunity to select when their semifinal game is played.

This new fast-paced format is sure to test the players’ endurance and the skills of the goalies.

The Skills Challenge

The All-Stars game is equal parts showing off and having fun, and nothing combines these two goals quite like the Skills Challenge. This year, the four fan-elected captains will choose which of their players is best suited for each of the six skills competition events. (All 44 players will participate in at least one.)

This year’s skills competition will award points to players based on:

  • Speed
  • Shooting style, creativity and flair (based on fan votes on Twitter during the Breakaway Challenge)
  • Shooting accuracy
  • Passing, puck control and stick handling in a timed relay
  • Shooting speed
  • Performance during the shootout

The shootout is always one of the highlights of the skills challenge, and this year will be no exception. Eighteen skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in a three-round shootout, with teams alternating after each shot. Each goal counts as one point except for goals scored by the two players with a special designation on each team, whose goals count for two.

Return of a Legend: Jaromir Jagr

At 43, Jaromir Jagr has been competing in All-Star games since many of his fans were still in elementary school. Yet fans clearly wanted to see him play, voting him in as captain of the Atlantic Division.

(Other team captains voted in by fans include Arizona Coyotes enforcer John Scott, who will lead the Pacific Division; Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, Metropolitan Division; and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, Central Division.)

While all the captains are sure to bring a lively mix of skills and personalities to the game, fans will especially enjoy watching Jagr. This is his 13th All-Star selection for the Florida Panthers’ forward, who played his first in 1992. Despite his age, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet: Last year, he became the oldest player in history to score a hat trick, surpassing the 15-career hat trick record of the legendary Gordie Howe.

Though Jagr will likely be focused on avoiding injury with 30 big games left to play this season, this could be one of his last All-Star games, so we’ll all be cheering him on.

The Celebrities

Like Nashville, this year’s game embraces the best of country music. Country stars Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Charles Kelley and Chris Young will serve as celebrity coaches. They’ll join NHL head coaches Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers, Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars, Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings and Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals behind the bench.

Vince Gill will play a dual role as coach and entertainer, joining Jennifer Nettles, Lee Brice, and Lennon & Maisy in the lineup. Gill will perform the U.S. national anthem while Canadian-born duo and real-life sisters from the television series, “Nashville,” will perform the Canadian national anthem. Brice will give a pre-game performance, while Nettles will take the stage during the second intermission.

The Venue

Aside from hosting the Nashville Predators, Bridgestone Arena in Nashville has been host to a number of memorable events, including the Country Music Association Awards, WWE Night of Champions and UFC Fight Night.

The facility seats nearly 20,000 and, as you might imagine, requires substantial effort to maintain, especially when you add ice. The whole thing is powered by Constellation’s central power plant in Nashville. As a key player in the NHL’s commitment to sustainability, Constellation will also supply Green-e® Energy Certified* Renewable Energy Certificates and Green-e® Climate Certified Carbon Offsets to counter the venue’s carbon emissions.

Last season, Constellation supplied more than 271 million kilowatt-hours or RECs and supplied carbon offsets to match 126,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That’s like taking 26,632 cars off the road, according to the U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator.

The NHL is the first professional sports league in North America to issue a sustainability report and launch comprehensive sustainability goals. Its outdoor games in particular, like the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, highlight the importance of using energy responsibly to ensure the tradition of training and playing on ponds can continue for generations to come.

Hockey fans: What are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s NHL All-Star game? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or connect with us on social media! 

* Green-e Energy certifies that renewable energy certificates meet the minimum environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions. For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 1-888-63-GREEN or log on to



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