NEW YORK, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The NHL is changing the format of its All-Star Game and will divide the players into two teams through a captains' draft, the league said Wednesday.
Previously the NHL All-Star game had a team of Eastern Conference players going against one comprised of players from Western Conference teams. This year 42 players will be selected as all-stars and two captains, chosen by the players, will select players for their team.
Each captain must choose three goaltenders, six defensemen and 12 forwards. The top six players in an NHL-conducted vote by fans Nov. 15-Jan. 3 will be joined by 36 players chosen by the league to make up the all-star pool.
The NHL's 2011 All-Star Game is scheduled for Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C.
The NHL also said it would select 12 rookies to take part in a skills challenge the day before the All-Star Game.
"The goal of the All-Star format change was designed to make the game more fun for everyone involved," said Brendan Shanahan, vice president of hockey and business development for the NHL. "By giving the players more input on team selection, as well as Skills Competition matchups, we feel the 2011 NHL All- Star Fantasy Draft will inject more excitement and intrigue into all the events surrounding All-Star weekend."