Hey, hockey fans! Saturday is usually a great night for you anyways. But tonight's entertainment is an extra special treat.
It's the NHL All-Star Game from San Jose, California (8 pm EST/5 pm PST)!
While we can't offer you last-minute tickets and airfare to see the contest for yourselves, we're pumped to talk quickly about the game's format and why so many hockey fans love it.
It's all just for fun
All sports leagues want their All-Star Games to matter to the fans—and their methods are all different. In Major League Soccer, they take a team of their own all stars and have them face off against a top team from Europe (where all of the world's best teams are found). In Major League Baseball, they made it so that whichever league won (American or National), that league's best team would get home advantage in the World Series.
The NHL doesn't try to make the game matter like that. Instead, it toys with the rules to make something that is fast-paced, a little silly, and really fun.
3-on-3 for you and me!
Ever since the NHL went to 3-on-3 overtime for the 2015-16 season—that's having three skaters on the ice instead of the usual five—there's always some debate raging on about whether or not it's "real hockey". No matter what you think of it, it is definitely quick and features a lot of scoring. So why wouldn't it be the format for the All-Star Game?
That's what the league did in 2016 and it was a great idea. With tons of space out there to display their skill and speed, you get the ideal setting for players to show off their talents all game long—not just when they manage to escape an opponent's tight defense.
We are the champions
We also like that the NHL decided to make the event a four-team tournament—one team representing each of the four divisions: Atlantic, Central, Metropolitan, and Pacific. Each game in the tournament has two 10-minute periods, instead of the usual three 20-minute periods of normal hockey.
Of course, the players won't compete as hard as they might in a typical NHL match. But we've noticed that once the games get underway, the sense of competition takes over and things get pretty exciting. After all, what athlete doesn't want to win?
We hope you dig the game tonight. And if you're on the fence about whether or not to watch, here are highlights from last year's tournament!