Everything you need to know ahead of the 2023 NHL All-Star Game

NHL hockey players stand before they are introduced before the NHL All Star Skills Showcase. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

The NHL All-Star Game in Sunrise, FL. is undoubtedly one of the marquee dates on the NHL calendar. 

Initially planned to take place in Florida during 2021, the game was ultimately postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, after a pit stop in Las Vegas, the All-Star Game has finally made its way to South Florida with tons of anticipation and excitement. 

This year, all four teams will be filled with superstars as they prepare to square off from Florida’s sunny shores, with lots of festivities, memorable moments, and plenty of goals sure to come.

Before the puck drops on All-Star Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, here’s a primer on everything you need to know in time for the mid-season classic.

The Format

As has been the case since 2016, the NHL All-Star Game is played as a 3-on-3 tournament. The day itself includes two semi-finals, 20 minutes each in length involving the two intraconference teams, then a final between the winners of each semi-final. In addition to the glory that comes with being the undisputed best division in the NHL, the winning team also walks away with a split pot of one million dollars.

Last year, the Metropolitan Division emerged victorious, claiming their third victory in six years, and tying them with the Pacific Division for the most of any division. The Atlantic and Central Divisions, for all their all-world talent, have “struggled” since the NHL implemented the new system, with either division losing in five of the six finals to date.

The NHL made the switch to the 3-on-3 format after experimenting with a player draft during the early 2010s, which produced its share of iconic moments, especially off the ice. Before that, straightforward East vs. West (and Campbell vs. Wales) games were interspersed with a brief stretch of North America vs. World games between 1998-2002.

When are the games?

Puck drop for game one of the three-game All-Star tournament goes at 3 P.M. ET, as the Central Division All-Stars square off with the best of the Pacific Division. After that, the Metro and Atlantic All-Stars go toe-to-toe at 4 P.M., before the final between each game’s winner begins at 5 P.M.

Who’s there?

Each of the four teams is composed of nine skaters and two goalies, with the first eight players in each division selected by the NHL’s department of hockey operations and the final three selected by the fans.

The head coach representing each division is the coach that had guided their team to first place in their respective divisions as of the January 11th deadline.

[brightcove videoID=6319748717112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

Pacific Division:

Head Coach: Bruce Cassidy, Vegas Golden Knights (2nd app. as coach)

Troy Terry, RW, Anaheim Ducks (2nd app.)

Nazem Kadri, C, Calgary Flames (2nd app.)

Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers (4th app.)

Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers (6th app.)

Stuart Skinner, G, Edmonton Oilers (1st app.)

Kevin Fiala, LW, Los Angeles Kings (1st app.)

Erik Karlsson, D, San Jose Sharks (7th app.)

Elias Pettersson, C, Vancouver Canucks (3rd app.)

Bo Horvat, C, New York Islanders (2nd app.)

Chandler Stephenson, C, Vegas Golden Knights (1st app.)*

Logan Thompson, G, Vegas Golden Knights (1st app.)

(Chandler Stephenson replaces Matty Beniers, C, Seattle Kraken)

Central Division:

Head Coach: Pete DeBoer, Dallas Stars (3rd app. as coach)

Clayton Keller, RW, Arizona Coyotes (3rd app.)

Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks (4th app.)

Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche (6th app.)

Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche (2nd app.)

Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche (2nd app.)

Jason Robertson, LW, Dallas Stars (1st app.)

Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Minnesota Wild (2nd app.)

Juuse Saros, G, Nashville Predators (2nd app.)

Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis Blues (4th app.)

Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg Jets (3rd app.)

Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets (1st app.)

Atlantic Division:

Head Coach: Jim Montgomery, Boston Bruins (1st app. as coach)

David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins (3rd app.)

Linus Ullmark, G, Boston Bruins (1st app.)

Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buffalo Sabres (2nd app.)*

Dylan Larkin, C, Detroit Red Wings (3rd app.)

Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers (2nd app.)*

Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Florida Panthers (2nd app.)

Nick Suzuki, C, Montreal Canadiens (2nd app.)

Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators (3rd app.)

Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning (4th app.)

Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning (5th app.)

Mitch Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (2nd app.)

(Aleksander Barkov replaces Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs)

(Rasmus Dahlin replaces Tage Thompson, C, Buffalo Sabres)

Metropolitan Division:

Head Coach: Rod Brind’amour, Carolina Hurricanes (2nd app. as coach)

Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Carolina Hurricanes (1st app.)

Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets (7th app.)

Jack Hughes, C, New Jersey Devils (2nd app.)

Brock Nelson, C, New York Islanders (1st app.)

Ilya Sorokin, G, New York Islanders (1st app.)

Adam Fox, D, New York Rangers (2nd app.)

Artemi Panarin, RW, New York Rangers (2nd app.)

Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers (1st app.)

Kevin Hayes, C, Philadelphia Flyers (1st app.)

Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (9th app.)

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals (13th app.)

Storylines to watch

Within the game itself, there are sure to be several storylines and subplots worth keeping tabs on as the afternoon unfolds.

First and foremost, there will be a new All-Star Game MVP, with last year’s winner Claude Giroux, then with the Philadelphia Flyers, presumably watching this year’s game from a tropical paradise. 

Connor McDavid is sure to be the early favourite for this year’s title and the brand-new car that comes along with it, but don’t count out Jack Hughes, who leads the NHL with six points 3-on-3 overtime play this season.

[brightcove videoID=6319690738112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

Another storyline worth keeping tabs on will be the reunited Tkachuk brothers, set to play for the same team as NHLers for the first time following Matthew’s move to the Atlantic Division. They’ll be joined by first-time All-Star Kevin Hayes, who is in South Florida under inspirational circumstances, to form a family affair as a cousin of the agitating siblings.

The Bo Horvat saga also reaches a crescendo Saturday afternoon, as the recently traded pivot represents his new club with some old pals, lacing up for the Pacific Division despite representing the New York Islanders. The game will no doubt serve as an emotional last hurrah for Canucks fans as they watch their dynamic duo of Pettersson and Horvat play together for a final time.

Lastly, you’ll want to stick around for the intermissions as well, as Fall Out Boy will be performing during the second intermission alongside the Central Florida Community Arts (CFCArts) Symphony Orchestra. The anthems will also be performed by special guests SACHA, performing the Canadian National Anthem, and pianist and singer/songwriter Andrew McMahon, performing the U.S. National Anthem.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.