An all-star game is an exhibition game played by the best players in their sports league, except in the circumstances of professional sports systems in which a democratic voting system is used. The players are often chosen by a popular vote of fans of the sport and the game often occurs at the halfway point of the regular season, although this is not the case for some all-star games (such as the Pro Bowl). The method of choosing teams varies, but the selection is usually based upon geographical situation of the clubs or the nationalities of the players involved.

All-star games are played as though they are regular games, but since they present a special showcase for skills, they hardly play out that way. Coaches try to get everyone into the game (while constrained by normal substitution rules), with the players not exerting themselves as they would in a regular season game (to minimize the risk of injury.) In hockey, for example, there is no serious checking, while in football no blitzing is allowed. In basketball, typically there is all but literally no defense played until the game's fourth quarter. An exception to this rule would be the Australian Rugby League State of Origin, where physicality at a level often leading to on-field scuffles is fairly common.

The term "all-star" is not generally used outside North America. Because of the promotion and relegation system prevalent in most countries, an all-star game would not be necessarily representative of the season's stars. Japan's J. League All-Star Soccer is one of the few such games. Moreover, all-star games are not often played in many sports (such as association football) that are popular outside North America because such sports play more games between individual nations, which are usually much more popular than all-star games would be. In the United Kingdom, all-star teams (both real and fantasy) are usually denoted with the Roman numeral corresponding to the number of players allowed on the field - for example, a soccer or cricket XI, a rugby league XIII and a rugby union XV.

Major League Baseball is usually recognized as organizing the first professional league all-star game when it was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. It was the brainchild of Arch Ward, then sports editor for The Chicago Tribune.[1] Initially intended to be a one-time event, its great success resulted in making the game an annual one. Ward's contribution was recognized by Major League Baseball in 1962 with the creation of the "Arch Ward Trophy," given to the All-Star Game's most valuable player each year.[2]

Professional all-star gamesEdit

Note: This annual game involves a publicly voted selection of the best club players from the league versus an Aboriginal team in honour of reconciliation.
  • National Hockey League All-Star Game
    • The game has had a number of formats throughout its history.
      • The original format, used from 1947 through 1968 with two exceptions, saw the previous season's Stanley Cup champions take on an "All-Star" team made up of the First and Second NHL All-Star Teams plus other star players.
      • In 1951 and 1952, the competing teams were the First NHL All-Star Team, supplemented with stars from the league's American franchises, and the Second NHL All-Star Team, supplemented with stars from Canadian franchises.
      • Beginning in 1969 and continuing through 2009, with some exceptions, the format was geographic—most recently Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference.
      • For 1979 and 1987, a single team comprising the NHL's best players faced the Soviet national ice hockey team in a two-game series.
      • From 1998 through 2002, the teams were divided by player nationality, with a "North America" team made up of Canadians and Americans and a "World" team drawn from the rest of the world.
      • In 2006 and 2010, the league did not hold an all-star game, instead releasing its players to play ice hockey at the Olympic Games. The league held an all-star game in addition to releasing its players to the Olympics in 1998 and 2002.
      • The current format, first used in 2011, involves the selection of 42 players—six in fan voting, and the other 36 by the league. The selected players then choose two of these individuals as team captains. Two days before the game, a "fantasy draft" is held in which each captain takes turns in selecting his teammates.
  • Pro Bowl - National Football League (American Football Conference vs. National Football Conference)
Note: In American football, the term "all-star game" refers to the American Football League All-Star game, last played in 1969; or the College All-Star Game, last played in 1976.

Former events

College all-star gamesEdit

College football

Other college sports

High school all-star gamesEdit

High school basketball

  • McDonald's All-American — featuring the most highly recruited high school players from across the nation.
  • Jordan Brand All-American - similar game among blue chip athletes

High school football

High school lacrosse


Australian rules footballEdit


  1. "All-Star Game History", Baseball Almanac.
  2. Newman, Mark. "All-Star MVP Awaits Your Vote",, July 10, 2006.

See alsoEdit

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