The National Hockey League has announced the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto will expand to begin Thursday instead of Friday, making it a three-day event. NHL All-Star Thursday will include a variety of events, including a player draft and the return of the women's hockey showcase. The upcoming player draft will mark the fourth time (2011-2015) the NHL has empowered players to select their own teams.
"We have also heard from our players and our fans that, 'Hey, wouldn't it be interesting if we brought [the player draft] back?' We think it just adds to the overall week of activities for All-Star," NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer told ESPN. "If it works out, it'll be here to stay."
ESPN reported the four All-Star captains will be selected based on their celebrity pairings. The league is hoping to recruit passionate fans and will lean into their existing NHL fandom or relationships. For example, comedian Tiffany Haddish is a known hockey fan and has engaged in activations with Blake Bolden, the Los Angeles Kings' growth and inclusion specialist.
The Maple Leafs will have a solid pick of Canadian-born celebrities to choose from, including tennis star Bianca Andreescu, singers Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, and actors Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Mike Meyers.
NHL players and celebrity captains will be announced by the league in January. Fans will still have the opportunity to vote for 12 players to participate in the festivities.
Following the player draft, the first of three events happening on All-Star Thursday, the league will honor the 1967 Maple Leafs as the NHL Alumni Man (or men) of the Year. The Keith Magnuson Man of the Year is presented annually to a former NHL player who has applied the intangibles of perseverance, commitment and teamwork developed through the game into a successful post-career transition.
The NHL will also host a women's hockey 3-on-3 showcase in partnership with the(PWHL), which is set to drop the puck on its inaugural season in January 2024.
Women have participated in the NHL All-Star Weekend in the past, including in 2019 when PWHL Minnesota forward Igor Shesterkin with the "Forsburg" move at the 2023 NHL All-Star Skill Competition in South Florida.to participate in the NHL Skills Competition. Last year, Sarah Nurse turned heads by beating
"We can't wait to showcase our new league and our incredible athletes on NHL All-Star Thursday," Jayna Hefford, PWHL senior vice president of hockey operations, said in a press release Monday. "We're delighted to be collaborating with the NHL, and we appreciate the opportunity to grow the game through the All-Star platform."
The city of Toronto and its Original Six franchise, the Maple Leafs, will host the NHL All-Star event for the ninth time. The NHL All-Star Skills will take place Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, and the NHL All-Star Game will be held the following day.
Sportsnet will carry the Thursday festivities for Canadian audiences, while ESPN and ESPN+ will broadcast the event for U.S. fans.