The Blueprint For The SPHL All-Star Game

The Blueprint For The SPHL All-Star Game

By Minor League Rando

February 2, 2020

The All Star Game. A staple in American sports. It’s the time that the best of the best come together and play a game of whatever sport that participate in. Fans get to see the stars, the league gets to celebrate, and other players get a break. In hockey, most leagues have one, but not the SPHL. Why is that? Excuses have been thrown around for years. The fan interest would not be there, the league does not support the idea, etc ,etc. Here is the thing, I would argue fan support is there for a game. However, I think the problem holding back an All-Star game for the SPHL would be this: How would you do it?  That’s where this comes to an end. I have come up with a possible blueprint for the SPHL to have an All-Star game.

The When:

I would host the SPHL All Star game during MLK Day weekend. This would allow fans to travel to wherever the game would be hosted, and students will be out of school, and people would be off due to Monday being a holiday.  I would have the games missed that weekend with a few more Sunday games. The SPHL has enjoyed an uptick in attendance with their Sunday afternoon games, and if the trend still goes upward, this could benefit the teams. 

The Location:

I’ll be honest. This is going to be bias, but, I think this is a good thing for most of the league. Host the game in Huntsville. The city with the craziest amount of fan support should host the league, and besides that, Huntsville is basically is the smack middle of the league. The team that would suffer the most, Quad City, would have the longest travel for any players selected to the game. However, I also have a solution for the people commenting that they would not want the game in Huntsville every year. Give it to the city with the best overall regular season attendance. If the SPHL used the game as a prize for the team with the best attendance, you could get some very aggressive (and sometimes very much needed) marketing by teams to bring people into the gates.

The Teams:

Preparing and picking the teams. The thing that frustrates fans, and makes fans very happy. I propose this system for picking the teams. Have the coaches from last postseason’s cup finals be the coaches for the All Star game. If a coach has left a team, use the next coach that has the best win percentage. Now it’s time for picking the teams. A month before the game, the coaches would be part of a draft like selection process, with the coach who won the cup (or has the better win percentage if that coach has left) has the first pick. Now, for the people who worry about a coach just picking their team, a limit of 5 players from their own team may be selected. 19 players, like a normal SPHL roster, would be selected by both coaches. After the main selection process, there would be a second round of sorts. It would be for the reserves, in case one of the 19 first round selections happen to be called up. 6 back up players would be selected, with the coach who had the second pick having the first reserve pick.

The All-Star Event:

This is it, the big show. The best of the best have descended upon (insert location here), and they want to show the talent of the SPHL. I see this being a two day event. The first night would be two events. The first part would be what I call “The League Showcase”. This could hold some league memorabilia, have mascots hang out, and hold a “State of the League” speech by the commissioner. The second part of the night would be a skills competition. You would have you’re normal elements like hardest slap shot, most saves, fastest skater, the normal stuff. Then we reach the second night, the night of the game itself. This would be a standard game of hockey, but there has to be something to play for. Simple, I literally can’t decide what. I will leave that up to the league to decide, but I would strongly advise having players involved with that decision. 

So that is my blueprint for a SPHL All Star Game. This isn’t just having people bid on jersey’s and calling it a day. This is a plan for a full All-Star game. I believe this is something that could help cement the SPHL within the hockey world. Allowing people to see the best of the league play, I believe that could change a lot of minds, and you gain the good will of the fans allowing them to see their favorites play.