NHL reveals captains for All-Star Game festivities in Toronto

ByKristen Shilton ESPN logo
Sunday, January 21, 2024

The NHL revealed some famous names set to captain its All-Star Game weekend festivities in Toronto next month, from the players themselves to some well-known personas.

Saturday night's announcement unveiled members of all four teams, each with an NHL player captain, co-captain, celebrity captain and designated jersey color, that will draft from the pool of previously selected All-Stars on Feb. 1. Those groupings will then last throughout the skills competition on Feb. 2 and play together during the All-Star Game on Feb. 3.

In blue will be Team Matthews, captained by Toronto Maple Leafscenter Auston Matthews with co-captain and Leafs teammate Morgan Rielly. They'll be joined by celebrity captain Justin Bieber, a longtime Leafs fan and frequent face at the club's games in Toronto.

In white will be Team McDavid, captained by Edmonton Oilerscenter Connor McDavid with co-captain and teammate Leon Draisaitl. Actor and avid hockey lover Will Arnett will be their celebrity captain.

In yellow will be Team MacKinnon, captained by Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon with co-captain and teammate Cale Makar. Canadian singer/songwriter Tate McRae -- whose recent single "Greedy" was a top-three hit on the Billboard Music Chart -- is their celebrity captain.

In red will be Team Hughes, with co-captains (and brothers) Quinn Hughes (of the Vancouver Canucks) and Jack Hughes (from the New Jersey Devils). Canadian singer Michael Bublé -- lifelong hockey fan and part owner of a junior team in Vancouver -- will act as their celebrity captain.

Each team will eventually be assigned a coach, as well. Those roles will go to the bench boss atop each division in the standings -- Winnipeg's Rick Bowness, Vancouver's Rick Tocchet, Boston's Jim Montgomery and the New York Rangers' Peter Laviolette.

Later Saturday, the NHL announced that Quinn Hughes and Canucks teammate J.T. Miller were voted in by fans to participate in the weekend's skills competition.

The NHL is making a return to its roots this season by reinstating a player draft format. The league previously went that route three times during its All-Star weekends -- in 2011, 2012 and 2015 -- before abandoning the event. The league's chief content officer Steve Mayer told ESPN last month that this felt like the right year to bring it back though, and the addition of celebrity captains was meant to heighten the excitement.

"That dynamic [of player and celebrity] this time around is going to be really fun, very unique," Mayer said. "We're looking for humor in these events, we're looking to bring out the player personality, we're looking at something that is going to be memorable. We've learned from doing it in the past."

The player draft kicks off NHL All-Star weekend at 6 p.m. ET on Feb. 1.

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