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New format for Honda NHL All-Star Game announced

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

NEW YORK/TORONTO -- 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.

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