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NHL bringing back player draft for All-Star Weekend

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

The NHL is turning back the clock by resurrecting the player draft it used during several past All-Star Weekends.

The league announced Monday it's expanding this season's festivities in Toronto to three days. The player draft will take place Thursday, Feb. 1, followed by the skills competition the next day, and then the three-on-three tournament on Saturday.

In terms of the player draft, the four All-Star captains (one from each division) will fill out their teams from the remaining pool of players after the conclusion of fan voting. The event will be televised, and each captain will be paired with a celebrity.

The NHL held an All-Star player draft in 2011, 2012, and 2015. It was the first league to use the format when it debuted. The most memorable moment came in the inaugural edition, when then-Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel was passed over until the final pick.

The 2015 version will be remembered for Alex Ovechkin doing everything he could to ensure he was taken last, including holding up a hand-written sign that said, "I WANT TO BE LAST (.) I NEED A CAR(.)" The league awarded a new vehicle to the player chosen with the final pick. Ovi was ultimately taken with two other players still on the board.

This year's All-Star Weekend will also include a PWHL showcase on Thursday.

Toronto will host the midseason event for the first time since 2000.

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