The NHL announced this week that they have tweaked the All-Star Game format and now the teams will be picked gym class style with two captains picking players from a pool of All-Stars. The NHL All-Star Game had become a stale event that was in desperate need of revamping, so maybe this new format won't be such as bad thing even though it does seem a bit gimmicky. This got me thinking: why doesn't the NHL go the complete pond hockey route and throw sticks to decide teams?
OK, here me out on this one.
Let's be honest, the NHL All-Star Game is just a dog and pony show for corporate sponsors and fans. If done properly, throwing sticks to decide teams could enhance the experience of fans and sponsors and raise money for good causes . The NHL could incorporate a contest where a fan or small group of fans would win a trip to the All-Star Game and the honor of throwing around $400 composite sticks to chose sides for the NHL All-Star Game. The league could get a corporate sponsor involved to bid on the naming rights for the contest (a stick manufacture would have perfect synergy for this promotion). The sponsor could create special edition commemorative sticks with each player's name, team logo, NHL All-Star Game logo, and their corporate logo on them. After the stick draw, each player would sign their stick and the stick would be auctioned off with the proceeds going to a charity of that player's choice.
Can you imagine the scene of 42 millionaire professional athletes scrambling try to find their stick on the ice to find out what team they are?
To make it more random, I would recommend that all the sticks be the same size for selection, including the sticks representing goalies. The complete randomness of it would be awesome. What if one team ended up with almost all the goalies and the forwards and one team had almost all defensemen? Would the thrower cheat and open his eyes just like in real pond hockey? Would the players bitch and moan about teams not being fair? (mic'd up players is a must here) Would Marian Gaborik trip over an errant stick and tear his fragile groin?
If the NHL isn't down with making this a fan contest, they could always invite a celebrity or a famous stick thrower to do the honors. I'm sure Jim Playfair or Chris "Knuckles" Nilan aren't doing anything that night.