NHL All-Star Weekend 2023

Isabella Sanford, Layout Editor

 The National Hockey League’s 2023 All-Star Weekend took off Feb. 2 through 4 with player appearances, fan-interactive activities, the NHL All-Star Skills, and the NHL All-Star Game.

   Taking place at the Florida Live Arena, home to the NHL team Florida Panthers, the NHL All-Star weekend sprawled across Sunrise and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Starting on Feb. 2, fans were invited to spend the day at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park for the NHL All-Star Beach Festival presented by Truly Hard Seltzer. 

   The Beach Festival included many different activities for hockey fans of all ages, namely the NHL All-Star Skills Zone, where fans could test their hockey skills with stick and puck handling, shooting, and more. The Beach Festival also included events and tents where fans could meet current NHL All-Stars, NHL alumni, meet the NHL Mascots, and take a picture with the official trophy of the NHL, the Stanley Cup.

   Hockey fans at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park could also attend the live taping of the NHL Splash Shot Skills Challenge presented by Enterprise on Feb. 2, which was a skills showcase event that would be shown at the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills (sponsored by DraftKings SportsBook). The event included All Stars Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Brady Tkachuk, and Matthew Tkachuk. The participants shot pucks at surf boards used to trigger a dunk box that would drop their partner into water. The winners of this event were teammates Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen, who play for the Colorado Avalanche. 

    Feb. 3 at the Beach Festival wrapped up with the NHL All-Star Red Carpet where fans could catch a glimpse of their favorite All-Star and maybe even get an autograph or picture. Here, All-Stars were interviewed by individual teams as well as ESPN reporters.

    Unfortunately, the weather did not permit for any activities to take place at the NHL All-Star Beach Festival on Feb. 4, but the fun continued at Florida Live Arena.

   On Feb. 3, fans flooded the arena for the presentation of the DraftKings SportsBook NHL All-Star Skills, where All-Stars went head-to-head in set competitions. These challenges included the Chipotle NHL Pitch ‘n Puck, where four players putted pucks across a golf course, the Discover NHL Tendy Tandem, where all eight All-Star goalies partnered up to shoot and stop pucks into nets, and the Upper Deck NHL Fastest Skater, where six All-Stars competed to get the fastest lap around the arena. The Tendy Tandem also included female players from the U.S.A. and Canada Women’s Teams, which shed a special, international light on their teams and gave representation to women in sports. 

   The Skills Challenges also included the Geico NHL Hardest Shot, with five players competing, the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting, with 10 players, and the Great Clips NHL Breakaway Challenge, featuring six players. The Breakaway Challenge was a little different, with All-Stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin teaming up and allowing Ovechkin’s son, Sergei Ovechkin, to shoot the winning goal. Crosby and Ovechkin won the Breakaway Challenge with a perfect score from all judges, earning 40 points.

   The NHL All-Star Weekend wrapped up on Feb. 4 with the All-Star Game presented by Honda. The game used a three-on-three format, where each division played two 10 minute periods.

   The first two of the four divisions that played on Sat. were the Western Conference divisions: Pacific and Central. During the first period, the Central division held a lead over the Pacific division 3-2. After switching goalies between periods, the Central kept their lead over Pacific, scoring three more goals and the Pacific only scoring two, ending the game with a 6-4 score, knocking the Pacific from the finals.

   The Eastern Conference went up next; the Metropolitan and Atlantic division ended their first period with a 4-3 score in favor of the Atlantic. The second period wrapped up quickly, ending the Metropolitan’s All-Star winning streak 10-6.

   The third segment of the All-Star Game featured the Central and Atlantic going head-to-head, where the Atlantic was crowned All-Star Game winners with a 7-5 lead over the Central division. However, with only one defensive man on the Atlantic division team, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy let in four goals within the last two minutes of the second period, almost blowing the title for the division. 

    For the first time since the formatting of the current All-Star Game was established (2016), the Atlantic division came home with the winning title.

    More information on the NHL All-Star Weekend can be found at.nhl.com/fans/all-star.