WWYDW: All-Star Game or NHL Draft?

Wait, doesn’t Cam Lewis (aka Coom) usually write the “What Would You Do Wednesday” piece? Yes, he usually does but this week our bosses decided that my idea was better so they’ve given Coom the old “Brandon Manning” and sent him to the press box this week.

My inspiration for this week’s edition of WWYDW is a tweet from local media legend Jim Matheson who sparked quite a debate with this tweet:

I think it’s clear what Jim’s opinion on this topic is, but I’m not convinced that he speaks for all of Oilersnation when he says that he would rather see the city of Edmonton host an NHL Draft over an All-Star Game.

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I raised the question yesterday on TSN 1260 and I found things to be fairly split. For the most part, those with young families said they would prefer the all-star game since it often comes with a big festival surrounding it and there’s more for the kids to do. On the other hand, I found that those who would call themselves hockey diehards or traditionalists said they would prefer the Draft. A few described the All-Star game as a gimmick and something that’s just for kids and corporate sponsors, which is mainly true.

The last time Edmonton hosted a draft was back in 1995 and the last time our city got an All-Star Game was in 1989. Safe to say, the city is almost due for one of each but they’re likely waiting until Ice District is 100% done before they host either. After all, if you’re going to host the entire NHL in your city, you probably want to show off the best parts of it. I think it’s safe to say Edmonton will be waiting until at least 2022 to get one of these events.

But which one would you rather see here first? A Draft? Or an All-Star Game?

In my opinion, this is a no-brainer. The Draft would no doubt be more fun to cover from a media point of view. The endless stories of all the prospects about to enter into the league and getting to chat with the next wave of talent combined with the constant trade chatter and the mock drafts. I love that stuff, so it would be great from a selfish perspective.

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But as a fan, I don’t see how it could be more enjoyable than an All-Star Game. While there are events that surround the Draft that make it fun for fans, at the end of the day, if you attend the event you’re basically just sitting in the stands and watching things on the big board. I enjoy NHL Draft day because I lock myself into Twitter, turn on whatever network has the rights, and enjoy the rumours and coverage of the event. If you’re at the event, you don’t really get as much analysis as you would watching it on TV.

Simply put: I think the Draft is a made for TV event. It would still be cool to check it out and watch the Oilers make their selection in front of their home fans, but at the end of the day, I feel like a lot of the event would just be sitting around and waiting.

As for the All-Star Game, while you might believe that the game doesn’t mean anything and it’s just a weekend for the league to pump up their corporate sponsors, it would brings 90% of the best players in the NHL to our city and would come with a skills competition and probably a bunch of side events to go along with the game itself.

You might rip on the All-Star game from afar, but being in attendance for a 3v3 tournament between the best players in the world sounds better than sitting in the stands for the Draft.

Are there ways that the league could improve the game? Sure. They could add WAY more prize money for the winning team and if I was in the NHL head offices, I would bring back the fantasy draft aspect of things. Have fans vote three captains, pick another from the host city, and make the fantasy draft a big event on the Friday night of All-Star Weekend. Sell tickets to it, make it an atmosphere, and give the players a little bit to drink just like the last time they did it. It was fun and we need more fun in today’s NHL.

Not to get too off topic, but how cool would it be in 2022 to have Connor McDavid select Sidney Crosby first overall in the “All-Star Game Fantasy Draft” and then get to watch them play in a 3v3 tournament for $10million in cash prizes. I’m going off on a tangent here, but that sounds great to me.

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My final take: the NHL Draft is more of a serious event. While I agree that the All-Star Game is gimmicky and not for everyone, I think having it in Edmonton would be highly entertaining and much more fun than the Draft.

What say you Oilers fans? Am I out to lunch? Would you rather see a Draft over an All-Star Game? Let me know!

  • Oiltank

    The draft is a more relevant function. Top prospects, deals on the floor, meaningful hockey event. I watch the first round of the draft every year, and have the following rounds on the TV all day the following day. I don’t watch the all-star game every year. Once in the last 5 years. Yawn.

  • GotDono

    Complete agree with everything Ca.. I mean Tyler said above. I think a collective Oiler fan base would definitely enjoy the ASG over a Draft. That being said – I would take a Draft, all day every day.

  • TKB2677

    I would choose the draft to host. At minimum, if I can’t be at home for it, I will record the draft and watch when I am home or I will watch the draft live. I usually don’t watch the all star game at all. Maybe if I am home when it’s on, I might flick to it for a couple of minutes but I have zero interest in it. Maybe it would be better if I was at it but watching a bunch of players who really would rather have the days off, play a game they don’t try in, doesn’t interest me much.

  • McRaj

    Who cares. We don’t deserve anything because we are the worst fan base in all of sports. Why? Because we continue to support this dog crap team. Take a stand people, stop caring about the Oilers.

    • Bon Signore

      “Stop caring about the Oilers,” says the guy posting on an Oilers fan site…

      In no way are the fans to blame for any of this. The idea that we have to stop enjoying live NHL hockey or buying merch from the team we love so that the team can improve, is straight up nonsense. This is squarely on management and leadership of the team. Blaming the Oilers failure on the fans because they dare to continue to support a losing team is victim blaming. If I wear my jersey to a game and the Oilers lose, are you going to say “he deserved it, did you see what you he was wearing?!?!”

      Sure, I’m probably going to be scrapping my season’s tickets this year if they don’t make the playoffs. That’s because I’m sick of watching terrible hockey though, not because it’s my responsibility to make the team better.

  • Serious Gord

    I’d like to see both but clearly the most beneficial would be the Allstar Game. Matheson is a twit IMO.

    In the new era of media this kind of event (actually the draft as well) is trying to find its way. What drove interest forty years ago (scarcity of product) doesn’t drive it now. Let’s see what ti looks like 5 to ten years from now.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Not too fun for the goalies though, in a meaningless game…
      Id hate to have my teams goalie have to go to the allstar game.
      At least as Oiler Fans we don’t have to worry about that. It could actually be a benefit to the Oilers, if we play the Allstar goalie shortly after…
      At least make the Allstar Game mean something, by giving the winning division 2 points each?

  • puckle-head

    I don’t really care. All-Star game is a sponsor-fest, but those partnerships need stewardship so it will happen. The draft is super interesting but boring as sin to sit down and watch (for me at least). I usually just go to the lake and check TSN for updates on draft day.

    • Serious Gord

      I think there is huge entertainment potential in the draft with the advent of new tech. We should ban off the floor dealings – only face to face meetings on the floor that can be televised for all to see. Etc.

      Which brings me to what i would like to see… Three trade days during the season. Only on those days could trades be made and they would be done in the same format as above – let the fans see the dealings being done – the backstabbing the triangulating – all of it. Let’s see the emotion of a GM losing out on a deal etc.

      As base the NHL is about entertainment. And revamping the draft and trading to maximize their entertainment value are huge opportunities to increase that entertainment.

  • Abagofpucks

    Both would be ok with me but i get the hype about the all star game, but it would still be good not just for fans but the city and the trickle down effect. It would generate revenue for venues all over the city and area.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    I’ve seen both in Edmonton. Yes, I’m old…
    It’s a really easy question when you pose it this way: do you want to see a pond hockey game, or no hockey game?

  • slats-west

    – disconnect all the cell phones to everyone in management and Chia so we don’t lose Nuge and Nurse for Roman Polak and Kovalchuk
    – put in an offer for 2 entry drafts (forfeit one Allstar game) or better host all entry drafts until we make playoffs whichever is first

  • Media-wise, yeah, the All Star Game doesn’t have the same story lines and drama as the Draft, but for fans and families, the ASG is simply about fun and activities.

    The only thing that sucks about having the All Star Game in Edmonton in January is it’s in cold January, but Edmontonians have shown resilience in defying the odds and coming out in droves to have fun outside no matter what the weather. The Heritage Classic is a prime example of that. And very soon, Ford Hall in Rogers Place will be connected indoors to the pedway system.

    Even then, Northern Alberta families will take their kids to anything outdoors in the winter that’s fun for them. I’d definitely take my kids to the All Star Game to see NHL stars. Draft? Imagine the attention span of a 7 year old in the stands.

    And hey, maybe in three years by 2022, the Oilers will have a consistent playoff team to be really excited about. That is if a better POHO and GM is hired.

  • CaptainCanada94

    I think the draft is more relevant given our recent draft placement… The comedy practically writes itself if we are drafting 1st overall in our hometown… You know what team is fun to watch in lieu of Oilers success? Raptors basketball. We get amazing coverage, their team has been very successful the last 5 years, their in-house product is second to none… Instead when both Oilers and Raptors are on at the same time, I choose the Oilers… definition of insanity anyone?

  • socaldave

    I remember my mum taking me to the ASG in ’89, and it was a BLAST!! She died a few years later, so for me, yes, I’m biased in saying I’d prefer an ASG to a draft. In fact, when the ASG was here in LA two years ago, I took my 5-year-old, and she LOVED it. Couldn’t believe how fast McDavid is. Saw a goalie “score a goal” (Mike Smith in whatever that stupid shooting thing was haha). It was such a fun afternoon downtown, and we made a whole day of it.

    So, FWIW, I think the population at large would have a much better time at an ASG downtown, with all its contingent events, and even if the weather sucks that particular weekend, it’ll still be a great time for families.

  • Stupidasso

    I attended both events in Edmonton and enjoyed both for different reasons. In 89 the Allstar game was actually quite good. Not only did we see our own stars like Messier, but it was nice to see the Eastern stars that didn’t come to town often. I remember Mike Gartner having a great game, and I followed his career closer afterwards. The games are meaningless, but I still find them entertaining.

    The draft in 95 was originally scheduled for Winnipeg if I recall but with them soon moving to Phoenix, Edm took the draft over last minute. It was exciting to see it unfold live and I think in today’s Era it would even be better with Twitter etc to fill in the slower times. What I recall the best about the 85 draft was everyone chanting “Doan” before the Oiler pick and Slats calling out Steve Kelly. The building went instantly silent …. classic moment in Oiler blunder history.

    Bring them both back for us to enjoy!

  • Old Boys Club

    I can’t comment much on the ASG, I went in ‘89 as a kid don’t remember much but’s a much bigger and different event now with the skills competition and everything else. I also attended the 2010 & 2011 drafts. 2010 was fun being in LA, pre draft parties and obviously the first pick. 2011 was ok, not as much was going on in St.Paul pre-draft but again the excitement for the 1st pick. For the average fan i think the draft is extremely boring to be at unless it’s in a city with other things to do or there is a bunch of events planned along with the draft.
    The ASG would be way more exciting event for the fans IMO.

  • Frank Rizza

    There are very few Things I love more than the Oilers but the City is one of them. I’ll take both events! Not because I really give a Damn about either but because they would both be revenue generators for the city. Let’s get the district done already so we can have all the events.