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The NHL's Canadian Takeover

The All Star Game is back in Canada for the first time since the 2012 season, where it was held in Ottawa. This year, it is taking place in Toronto.The All Star Game has changed a bit this year, not just within the game itself, but also with new pregame activities as well.

The NHL celebrated these festivities by hosting community events across the city of Toronto, with the highlight of this being the transformation of Nathan Phillips Square being called the Hockey for All Rink for the weekend. Along with this, Toronto’s Alexandra Park, as well as Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s South Building will be utilized for the NHL’s All Star Legacy Project and the 2024 Hyundai NHL Fan Fair. Hyundai will be donating 400 tickets to the Fan Fair to youth hockey groups, as well as organizations that are committed to engaging diverse communities.

Courtesy of Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Throughout the weekend, the Hockey For All Rink hosted a series of different events, including a special 3 on 3 showcase. Here, some PWHL team captains were featured, including Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianne Jenner, Hilary Knight, Marie-Phillip Poulin, and Blayre Turnbull. 

Additionally, NHL Alumni Mark Fraser and Anthony Stewart will be co-hosting a clinic with girls from the Hockey Equality organization, which is an organization that is committed to creating diversity in all levels of hockey.

Courtesy of Hockey Equality

The community involvement from the city of Toronto was on full display this past weekend, which was not the only thing that got fans excited for the festivities.

The league implemented the fan vote once again, which allowed fans to vote in remaining All Stars to the competition. To much surprise, 8 of the twelve players voted in by fans were all from Canadian teams. The Vancouver Canucks garnered the most All Stars, with 6 players, including the newly acquired Elias Lindholm. The hosting Toronto Maple Leafs were second, with a total of 4 All Stars who attended. 

Courtesy of Vancouver Canucks

The NHL being back in Canada has a huge impact on the growth of the sport, as well as the viewership that it leads to. With the PWHL recently launching, the involvement it had with the festivities was sure to gain more recognition for the league.

Along with the PWHL, the Hockey Equality Organization and the NHL Player Inclusion Coalition gained some attention this past weekend as well. With former players as advocates, fans tuned in to see what they were up to, and the role they played within those organizations.

With fans tuning in to see the action, the viewership for this year's game brought in more fans than ever, placing the attention back on the country of Canada, where hockey first found its origins. This Canadian takeover surely was festive, and hockey was back and better than ever in Toronto, making this weekend one to remember.

Edited by: Jessi Dworkin

Social Media Content Created by: Audrey Pearsall

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