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What is the format for the NHL All-Star Game?

We go over how the format and rules work for the NHL All-Star Game, which will take place on Saturday, February 5th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders stands on the ice for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game at the Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL All-Star Game will take place on Saturday, February 5th in Las Vegas, Nevada, at T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Skills Challenge will take place on Friday night at T-Mobile with a few fun changes to make the theme fit Sin City. Here we’re going to go over the format for the NHL All-Star Game, which will begin at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.

NHL All-Star Game format

The format for the game has changed a bunch over the years. Generally, the format has been East vs. West the most throughout the history of the NHL. There was a point starting in 1998 when the two teams were split into North America vs. World. So the United States and Canada made up one squad while the other was comprised of players from European countries and Russia. That format ended in 2002 and switched back to East vs. West. In 2011, the NHL adopted captains drafts, which lasted for three seasons before switching to the current format.

Since 2016, the NHL All-Star Game has been a four-team tournament with three games being played to decide the winner. It’s split into teams based on division — the Metropolitan, Atlantic, Pacific and Central. The Metro will face the Pacific and the Atlantic takes on the Central. The two winners play each other in the final. To speed things up and open up the ice a bit, the game has been changed to a 3-on-3 tournament with 20 minutes for each contest.