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New format for Honda NHL All-Star Game announced

by NHL Media / Chicago Blackhawks

The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be transformed into a 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament among the NHL's most talented star players from each division, the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and National Hockey League (NHL®) announced today.

The new format will divide the All-Star Game into three 20-minute games, with star players from each Division making up the four All-Star teams: Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and Metropolitan. The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star celebration will include the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ on Saturday, Jan. 30, and the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament on Sunday, Jan. 31, where players will face off in a winner-take-all $1 million inter-division tournament.

In addition to the new format, the NHL announced today that Honda, the exclusive automotive partner of the NHL, will expand its League support as title sponsor for the 2016 NHL All-Star festivities in Nashville. In addition to title sponsorship of the four-day celebration, Honda returns as title sponsor for the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game for the second straight year.

"The NHL All Star Weekend festivities provide a unique opportunity for our fans, Players, Clubs, and business partners to come together in one city to celebrate the game at its highest level," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "We are introducing a creative new format this year in Nashville not only as a way to enhance the competitiveness of the event, but also as a vehicle to highlight and emphasize the incredible skill, speed and athleticism it takes to play our game."

"We are excited to see the new All-Star Tournament this year," said Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director. "It has been a collaborative effort, and we hope the fans will be looking forward to the NHL All-Star Weekend in Nashville as much as the Players."

"This is an incredible expansion of our long-standing relationship with the NHL, our commitment to sports and to hockey fans across North America," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of the Honda Division. "As the official vehicle manufacturer of the NHL, the All-Star Game aligns well with Honda owner's fun and spirited nature and love of sports."

Details on the new format include:

* The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid in its entirety to the tournament's winning team.

* The tournament will feature four teams, one team representing each NHL Division: the Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic.

* Each team will be made up of 11 players: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.

* The 2016 NHL All-Star Fan Vote will allow fans to vote for one All-Star player from each Division, without regard to position. The top vote-getter from each Division will be named NHL All-Stars, as well as Captain of his respective team.

* The remaining 40 NHL All-Stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for a total of 44 All-Star players, with at least one player selected from each NHL team.

* The 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition™ returns to a matchup between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars on Saturday evening, with the winning conference earning the right to select when their semi-final matchup will be played; first or second on Sunday.

* Each game in the three-game, 3-on-3 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will be 20 minutes in length.

* Teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. Games that are tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.

* The Central Division All-Stars will face the Pacific Division All-Stars and the Atlantic Division All-Stars will face the Metropolitan Division All-Stars in the two Semi-Final games.

* The winners of each Semi-Final game will play each other in the All-Star Game Final to determine the overall tournament champion.

* The four division-leading NHL coaches (best points percentage following the completion of games on Jan. 9, 2016) will be named coaches for each of the four All-Star teams

A new look to the NHL All-Star Weekend festivities is not unprecedented, as a number of new formats and innovative changes have been introduced and incorporated over the years. In 1947, the first official NHL All-Star Game called for the defending Stanley Cup Champions to play against a selection of All-Stars from the other teams. Over the course of 60 NHL All-Star Games, the format has changed to pit First Team All-Stars vs. Second Team All-Stars; East Division vs. West Division; Campbell Conference vs. Wales Conference; Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference; North America vs. the World; and most recently, a player Fantasy Draft, where All-Star players themselves determined the composition of each team.

The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star celebration will mark the first time Nashville has hosted the NHL All-Star weekend, which will take place at Bridgestone Arena. Live television coverage of the League's mid-season showcase during the Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ and Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will be broadcast by NBCSN in the U.S. and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada. The Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 30 and the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will start at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 31.

Timeline of NHL All-Star Format Changes

1934: "All-Star" game takes place at Maple Leaf Gardens, serving as a benefit fundraiser for Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ace Bailey, who suffered a career-ending injury during the 1933-34 season.

1947: The first official NHL All-Star Game called for the defending Stanley Cup Champions to play against a selection of All-Stars from the other five teams.

1951: The 5th and 6th editions of the All-Star Game called for the NHL's First Team All-Stars to take on the League's Second Team All-Stars, with players from the American and Canadian clubs rounding out the lineups of the First Team and Second Team, respectively.

1953: The game returns to the original format of 1947, where the defending Stanley Cup Champions faced off against a selection of All-Stars from the other teams.

1967: The date of the All-Star Game is moved from the preseason time period to a window midway through the regular season.

1969: With 12 teams in the League, an East Division vs. West Division All-Star game is introduced.

1975: With 18 teams in the League, a new format was created featuring the Campbell Conference All-Stars vs. the Wales Conference All-Stars. In 1994, the names of the conferences were changed to Western and Eastern, respectively.

1998: Highlighting the NHL's unique international make-up, a new format was introduced which matched All-Stars born in North America against a group of All-Stars from around the World. Five All-Star games would be contested under this format.

2003: The game returns to an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format.

2011: A Player Fantasy Draft is introduced, where All-Star Players themselves determined the composition of the two teams involved in the NHL All-Star Game and NHL Skills Competition.

2016: A three-game, 3-on-3 Tournament among teams made up of 11 players representing each of the NHL's four divisions is instituted.

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