The annual NHL All-Star game made its return to Toronto for the first time since 2000. Stars from every team across the league came together to play in a four-team tournament for a 1-million-dollar grand prize.
The event spanned three days, with the fantasy draft where players are selected to the teams on Thursday, the skills competition on Friday, and the 3-on-3 tournament on Saturday.
The four teams each had a player captain as well as a guest celebrity captain. The four players who captained each team were Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Nathan Mackinnon, and Quinn Hughes. Team Matthews was co-captained by Justin Bieber, team McDavid was co-captained by Will Arnett, team Mackinnon was accompanied by Tate McCrae, and Michael Bublé was with Team Hughes.
The players and celebrities got to pick their teams on the Thursday before the games, this was the first time the NHL allowed the fantasy draft format at an All-Stars game since 2015. It was appreciated by fans so the league decided to bring it back. Following the fantasy draft, the skills competition took place on Friday. Not every player who went to the all-stars games got to participate in the skills competition though. It was only the league’s best. There were many different types of challenges for the players to play in. Six different challenges involving passing, skating, and shooting were all put on. The hardest shot, which is one of the fan’s favorite skills, was won by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, who hit 102.56 mph. In doing so, he became the first Avalanche player to win the hardest shot contest.
Edmonton Oilers superstar forward Connor McDavid shined at the all-star weekend once again. Widely regarded as the best player on the planet, McDavid won four of the six skills competitions as he took home the 1 million dollar grand prize.Sports card shop employee Michael Santini watched the All-Star game. “It’s expected, I mean he’s [Connor McDavid] the best player in the world,” says Santini.
With the All-Star weekend being held in Toronto, there was of course a major Toronto Maple Leaf presence. Four players from the Maple Leafs went to the games and Auston Matthews, represented as the Captain of the team Matthews. The 3 on 3 tournament took place on Saturday where the 4 teams competed for a one million dollar prize. Team Matthews faced Team Hughes, and Team Mackinnon faced Team McDavid. Team Matthews and Team McDavid came out victorious and faced each other in the final. Team Matthews, which had all of the other Leaf players on it, beat team McDavid 7-4, to take home the second 1 million dollar prize. The fans were treated as they got to see their hometown players win the prize, which was just all added excitement.
Leaf fan and Torontonian, Trent Altwood attended the game. “Toronto was just a great place to be, so many people from everywhere were there and everyone was just having a good time,” said Altwood.
The city of Toronto benefited from hosting the all-star games. The tourism in the city, as well as the overall excitement for the event, made Toronto that much more livelier.