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:
No we do not want or need an all-star game. All it is is a sponsor-fest. If you poll the hockey fan in Edm he would much rather have the NHL draft a few years down the road no matter where Oilers are picking in round one https://t.co/P2MFwpWzdN
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 8, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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!