NHL All-Star festivities galore - Metro US

NHL All-Star festivities galore

While the 2012 NHL All-Star Game is slated to be played Sunday at Scotiabank Place, the festivities get underway Thursday.

Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson, who also took part in last year’s all-star weekend in Raleigh, N.C., is eagerly anticipating the variety of events planned throughout the national capital region.

“I’m looking forward to whatever is to come,” Karlsson told reporters after learning he received the most votes from fans to guarantee him a spot on the all-star roster for the second straight year. “I don’t really know what to expect. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I think you’re going to have to wait a couple days after to really take it all in.”

Ottawa’s All-Star Celebration will kick off Thursday (2:30-3 p.m.) when all the NHL trophies will travel down the Rideau Canal Skateway to the Ottawa Convention Centre from Waverly Street. Included in the procession will be the Stanley Cup, the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Vezina Trophy.

When the trophies make it to the Ottawa Convention Centre at 3 p.m. it will mark the opening of the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fair. The fair will offer three days of family-friendly interactive games and attractions, special appearances, trophy and memorabilia displays, live TV and radio broadcasts in addition to music, food and other activities.

After a successful debut in Raleigh, the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft is back by popular demand. The draft will be held Thursday starting at 8 p.m. at the Théâtre du Casino du Lac-Leamy. Team captains Daniel Aldfredsson and Zdeno Chara will choose their own teams during the event, which will be televised nationally on TSN.

The Rideau Canal Skateway will once again be the place to be Friday starting at 7 p.m. for the Energizer Night Skate. The five-kilometre skating event will benefit the Sens Foundations. Funds raised will go to construct future outdoor ice rinks in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. For more information, visit energizernightskate.ca.

The Canadian Tire NHL Junior Skills Competition will then take place along the Rideau Canal Skateway Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. This nationwide competition will culminate in Ottawa as finalists gather to showcase their skills in fastest skating, shooting accuracy, puck control and passing accuracy events. For more information, visit canadian tirehockeyschool.ca/nhljuniorskills.

After the youngsters show off their talents, Karlsson and the rest of the all-stars will take to the ice at Scotiabank Place starting at 7 p.m. Saturday for the Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

The busy weekend of activities will culminate Sunday at 4 p.m. with the Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place. The 59th annual event will pit Team Alfredsson against Team Chara with bragging rights on the line.

Live television coverage of the event will be provided by CBC and RDS in Canada and NBC Sports Network in the U.S.

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