The NHL has shown to be, arguably, the most progressive major sports league in the United States, and that continued today with the amazing announcement that, beginning with this season’s contest, the NHL All-Star is moving to a 3-on-3 format that sounds like it’ll be awesome as fuck!
There will be four teams of nine skaters and two goalies, one team for each of the four divisions (Atlantic and Metropolitan in the East; Central and Pacific in the West). There will be a 20-minute mini-game – likely two 10-minute halves – featuring one division versus another in 3-on-3 action followed by another 20-minute game with the other two divisions playing each other.
The two winning teams would then meet in a third 20-minute session for the so-called “championship” game.
With NHL overtime moving to a 3-on-3 format for the first time this season—which has only added to the appeal of the fastest sport on the planet and is amazing—the hope for the All-Star exhibition is that players will embrace the change and have fun with the format.
Of course, there will always be skeptics and questions about the efforts of players, but that’s why the league is implementing a $1 million payout for the winning team of 11 players, which, is jack shit to millionaire athletes when split amongst them all, but provides a little motivation for those in the contest.
The winning team in the soon-to-be-announced All-Star 3-on-3 event will split $1M. In an unrelated story, Glenn Healy volunteers to play.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 18, 2015
With the MLB changing its format to the Home Run Derby and seeing huge success this past season and now the NHL doing something cool to mix it up with the actual game itself, it looks like leagues are finally trying to get creative in attracting fans who would otherwise just see a boring old game. After all, rosters in all All-Star games are just glorified popularity contests anyway, so props to the NHL for accepting that and coming up with something that I, personally, can’t wait to watch—and I’m far from being a hockey fan.