NHL All Star Weekend shoots into the Triangle

Posted on 01/23/11 No Comments

2011 NHL All Star Game logo

In case you need any more evidence that professional hockey has taken hold in the Triangle (as if the two Stanley Cup runs are not enough), just check out Downtown Raleigh next weekend, when a series of events and parties come to town in honor of our hosting of the 58th NHL All Star Game.

On top of hosting, the Hurricanes star Center Eric Staal is serving as Captain of the East … well, wait … it’s not East vs. West anymore, is it?

For the first time in the league’s history, the captains, Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, will be drafting their respective teams to face each other on Sunday, a week from today at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The draft will also be televised live on Friday from the Raleigh Convention Center on Fayetteville Street. The teams will be devised from a set pool of 42 all stars, as voted by hockey fans.

After the draft and Friday night NHL Fan Fair festivities at the Convention Center, fans should head to the RBC Center on Saturday for the skills competition, which will feature all of the players and twelve additional rookies selected based on league performance to date, including the Hurricanes 18-year-old Jeff Skinner, one of the most talked about players in the NHL this season.

It may come as a surprise to some fans to know that this is Hurricanes’ Goalie Cam Ward’s first time on the All-Star team, despite his incredible performances in the past few seasons and winning of the Conn Smythe Trophy, one of the sport’s most prestigious.

Peter Laviolette, who coached the Hurricanes in between current coach Paul Maurices’ two stints as bench leader, will be coaching one of the teams. He is now behind the bench for the Philadelphia Flyers.

You can find all the information you need about the 2011 NHL All Star Game at this Web site.

Downtown Raleigh should be buzzing next weekend as a result of the event and the odds are good that if you decide to head out, you will run into some of the best professional athletes our country has to offer. Just look for the guys with the stitches in their faces.

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