With the NHL’s All-Star Game being hosted in star studded Los Angeles, and with some of the greatest NHL players in town for the NHL Top 100 Players Ceremony, there was so much potential for the NHL’s Celebrity Shootout to be great. But the Celebrity Shootout just didn’t live up to its potential. What went wrong?
The first thing that stood out to me when I turned on the Sportsnet stream of the Shootout was the music. Starting from the warm up and playing throughout the entire game, the music was one of the worst things about the Celebrity Shootout. When I tune into an NHL game or event, I’m not tuning in to hear LMFAO, Flo Rida, and Skrillex. I’m tuning in to watch the game and to hear the game sounds and crowd.
No Play By Play or Colour
The music may not have been such a big deal if someone were calling the game. Part of the reason it was so bad is that it was playing constantly with only the sparse player interviews breaking up the monotony. Some play-by-play and colour commentary would have been an instant fix to this issue. The lack of play-by-play also made the game very difficult to follow. It wasn’t easy to determine who was who out on the ice, and a few times after a goal I was left scratching my head as to who scored it. Some background on the players from a colour commentator would have been a welcome addition to help spectators get immersed in the game.
No Name Celebrities
Outside of the late addition Justin Bieber, I’m not sure I knew any of the “celebrities” that took part in the game. Being in LA, I would have hoped that the NHL would have been able to draw some more recognizable names. I understand that getting celebrities to play a hockey game is probably easier said than done, but I’m sure they could have got someone more recognizable than Mr. Zhou. I’m sure Snoop would have laced up the skates had he been asked.
They Didn’t Tell Anyone That There Would be a Full Game
This one is huge. Nobody knew that the celebrities would be playing a full game. The event was advertised as a Celebrity Shootout. Not a celebrity game. When the players started playing a full out game, it was to the surprise of many of the fans who were expecting a shootout. When I heard that it would be a shootout I expected some cheesy event where the celebrities and alumni would dress up in goofy costumes and pull off silly antics similar to the Breakaway Challenge from previous years. Instead I was surprised to see a serious game with some of my favourite alumni. I know that I would have been more interested in a celebrity game as opposed to a celebrity shootout, and advertising it as such may have garnered a larger audience.
How Can the Event be Improved?
I think that the Celebrity Shootout, or rather, game, was a fantastic idea with poor execution. I do hope that it returns next year and in years to come, eventually becoming a mainstay at All-Star Weekend like its NBA counterpart.
I think that if the NHL takes the above criticisms into account, the celebrity game can become a great and anticipated event. My only other recommendation would be to advertise the game more. I, myself, only found out about the event the day before. If it were more heavily advertised it would have certainly garnered further intrigue.
Chris Carnovale is a “The Wraparound” columnist for Good Night, Good Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @Chris_Carnovale.