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More event info/specifics have been added to the All-Star Wide Open website about their free event all weekend:

City Plaza

Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s Ice Rink is open for public skating but look for a youth hockey skills competition and other skating performances!

Progress Energy Stage in City Plaza with host dance performances, contests, a mascot show, a fashion show, and more - check out the Music Performances for detailed times.

The Flying Aces - Olympic athletes will be featured on City Plaza doing aerial tricks in a trampoline show brought to you by Rex Healthcare.

Wide Open's Open Wide Eating Contest Presented by Hostess. Sign up for the contest by emailing Erika.LaWall@RaleighConvention.com; Contest times are Friday at 5:00 and 7:00; Saturday at 1:30 and 3:30.

Look for WRAL’s Greg Fishel for onsite weather updates from the all star winter wonderland stage located in City Plaza.

Fayetteville Street

RBC Plaza Autographs from NHL stars on Fayetteville Street outside of RBC Bank. Friday: Aaron Ward 5:30-6:30; Saturday: Tom O'Brien 10:00am - 11:00am; Steven Stamkos 10:30 - 11:30; Jeff Skinner 12:00 - 1:00; Rod Brind'Amour 3:00 - 4:00

(In the RBC Building’s Lobby you will find another escape from the winter weather. Come inside for hot chocolate, coffee, and cider and while you warm up get a caricature of yourself drawn or have your face painted like an all star, all for free thanks to RBC Bank!)

Coming down Fayetteville Street is the Paperhand Puppet Parade be sure to catch a glimpse of these locally handcrafted huge puppets as they march down the streets.

All along Fayetteville Street Winter and Active Lifestyle Vendors will be on display, be sure to learn more about their merchandise.

In front of the courthouse a wood carver, ice carver, latte art competition and a magician will be displaying their all star talents.

Davie Street

W. Davie Street will be covered with a heated tent for all to escape the cold and experience some local Raleigh merchants and artisans; while there catch the cool tunes of Mickey Mills on Friday and Adam Pitts on Saturday.

E. Davie Street will be home to all the food you’d need, come take a stroll through the All Star Restaurant Row.

Martin Street

The All Star fun concludes here with a rockin’ stage that will be fully programmed with local and regional music acts that will keep you moving all day long.

E. Martin Street is where the Carolina Rollergirls roller derby will be showing off their skills in ongoing exhibitions.

W. Martin Street Beer Garden

Mmmmm, beer. All your favorites. Sample (8) 3 oz. beers for a fee of $10; Brewers will include Abita, Sweetwater, Blue Point, Brooklyn Brewery, Redhook, Gordon Biersch, Carolina Brewery, Triangle Brewery, Huske Hardware, Lonerider, Natty Greene's, Margaritaville, Michelob, Wild Blue, Bud Light

Cabarrus Street

Sledding Hill

Wild downhill snow sledding in the hear of downtown Raleigh!

Beer and BBQ Festival

Clyde Cooper's mouth-watering classic.

Heated tents will be located throughout all streets!

All-Star Wide Open Event Street Map

Edited by DianeNC

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Not much time for a big recap but for those not lucky enough to be here, so far everything has exceeded my expectations. Fan Fair is impressive and most of the exhibits especially the high tech ones are very cool. All the NHL hardware is on display and the credentialed folks are wandering around taking it all in like the common folk. Last night's draft was much better than I expected and it was great to see that none of the players were taking it too seriously. They all seem to be on board with the new concept and get this is for the fans and to show off the league. Even without a wrist band, fans could see and hear all that was happening in the draft, its a great and open set up for all to enjoy. Even 'the Guardians' exhibit that greets you when entering the Fan Fair was pretty awesome and in person looked a whole lot better than all we've seen on the website. There was a group of 10 years olds (?) gushing over the life size Guardians and wanting to collect them all means that the target audience has been successfully reached.

Best joke of the night going around the draft:

Brian Burke has offered Team Lidstrom his 1st round pick in '12 and '13 for Phil Kessel :lol:

Didn't actually go into the concert but friends that went said it was great. Highlight of the night was the unbelievable fireworks show at closing. At first we saw what looked like a short (and lame) fireworks display at the top of the convention center and thought....ummm...ok. But then....the big booms started in front of Memorial Auditorium and didn't stop for what seemed like an hour. One of the best fireworks displays I've ever seen that rivals big cities like Boston and NY (no exaggeration).

Was at the 5k this morning and they had a great turnout. I have to say that the Friesen 5K is more fun because of the players support but the race went well and John Forslund and his running commentary made it fun. Probably not doing him any justice but here's a few clips:

As a Whaler jersey crossed the finish line "We'll always remember the Whale!"

As a Sabre fan crossed the finish line: "How about that....a Buffalo fan running side by side with a Canes Fan....How about that!"

As a Pittsburgh fan with a Mario jersey on finished: "There goes Mario Lamieux (sp?) with a baby stroller!"

As a Devils fan finished: "And there's the lone Devils fan"

As 2 Canes fans with Red Sox hats finsihed: "Love those hats, this is gonna be our year!" (you know I had to stick this one in :grin: )

One last note to parents of hockey players..... be careful at the Bauer exhibit where the kids get to try out seriously expensive equipment. I told my kid he better enjoy taking slap shots with the $225 stick he was holding because it won't be coming home with him ;)

So far, I give HUGE kudos to the City of Raleigh, the Canes, the NHL and all the planners that had their hands in this weekend. I've been to other ALL Star games in other cities and so far this has just blown away what I've seen.

The best is yet to come......

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Thanks for the great feedback, TSA! If anyone was unable to get tickets to either the Skills Competition or the actual All-Star Game on Sunday, Fan Fair tickets (that TSA posted about) are only $10 - and I believe you can still pick them up for just $8 at your local Harris Teeter.

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The 2011 All-Star Game weekend is not even over yet, and reviews from around the country on how Raleigh has handled the event are already showing up. Whether it's a local review, or one from elsewhere, this is the place to post them! :thumbsup:

Edited by DianeNC

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NBC Sports ProHockeyTalk

Sights around the All-Star Game Fan Fair and Fantasy Draft

Joe Yerdon, Jan 29, 2011, 1:05 PM EST

Taking a walk around downtown Raleigh yesterday, you can’t help but notice how much this city is going bonkers over the All-Star Game. Every light post has a banner, every hotel is recognizing the game in some fashion, and there’s hockey-themed everything all over town and in every bar and restaurant.

Some fans throw insults towards the Hurricanes for being a southern hockey team, but if one was to judge the city and the fans based on this weekend alone, you’d have a hard time thinking this place is anything but a hockey town. Raleigh loves the Hurricanes and with good reason too. They’ve got a fine corps of young players and a team that despite missing the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, the fans adore this team. Being rewarded with the All-Star Weekend is being willingly accepted by the city.

As for how things look around here...here’s a few photos from around the Raleigh Convention Center which is hosting the NHL Fan Fair and hosted the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft last night. If you’ve got a distinct fear of mascots, you might want to hide under a blanket. (You can click on any of the photos to see them in huge, grand glory)

The main thing to take note of inside the Fan Fair was the set up they had for the All-Star Fantasy Draft.

While rolling through there, it was interesting to note the assigned seating they had for the players.

Ovechkin sitting next to Fleury? Well all right then.

Upon walking into the Raleigh Convention Center, I was immediately greeted by a cavalcade of furry, welcoming NHL friends. Here we’ve got Louie from the St. Louis Blues and Fin the Whale from Vancouver.

The other amusing and potentially really wallet-punishing part of the Fan Fair comes from the folks selling memorabilia. You’ve got all the traditional stuff from pucks to cards to jerseys all autographed, but it’s the random stuff I’m more interested in and I very nearly made a rash purchase.

Tell me you’ve never seen Wayne Gretzky look more dapper than with a bright red umbrella on his head.

We’ll have more sights from around RBC Center today as the true tailgating begins in earnest. We’ve always been told that no one does tailgating right the way the Hurricanes fans do. We’ll see how things shake out today and tomorrow.

(Click on title of article to view article pictures.)

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NHL.com

Players gear up for 2011 NHL All-Star Game

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- The fantasy draft, red carpet and skills competition have all just been a delicious selection of appetizers designed to whet the appetite in anticipation of the main course -- Sunday afternoon's NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover.

This year's contest (4 p.m. ET, VS, CBC) between Team Lidstrom and Team Staal is the first of its kind, with captains Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal choosing sides for the game at RBC Center. The brain child of NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan will take center stage, and the optimism is high that it will be a huge success.

"I think (today's) going to be a blast for our fans to see the game on showcase with some of the talent out there," said Staal, whose group won the Honda SuperSkills 33-22 on Saturday. "Hopefully for the home crowd, we can get it done."

The competitive juices were flowing Saturday, which means they will likely spill over into Sunday's game. It's all fun and games to be sure, but Boston's Zdeno Chara, who set a record with his 105.9 mph shot in the XM NHL Hardest Shot, came here to win.

"I said it right from the beginning," said Chara, a member of Team Staal. "I like to have fun at these things. I enjoy it, but at the same time, when it comes down to showing what you have, you have to sell it. You have to compete."

One of the more interesting facets to Sunday's game will be the separation of Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Daniel will represent Team Staal and Henrik will suit up for Team Lidstrom, marking the first time they've ever played against each other in a hockey game.

"I think it'll be fun; but we're used to playing with each other so I'm sure it'll be different," Daniel said. "We had a lot of fun talking about it before the game, but it's more for the media and the fans."

"I haven't really thought about playing against him yet, but it's an All-Star Game and it's exciting," Henrik said. "We actually expected not to be playing together from the day we got picked to this All-Star Game so it's no surprise for us."

No one's expecting this All-Star Game to be a physical contest despite the new format. But perhaps the lopsided defeat is going to give Team Lidstrom some added motivation.

"We built this team to win the game, not the skills competition," said Team Lidstrom alternate captain Martin St. Louis. "A few years from now, no one will remember who won the skills."

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NHL.com

A look at the All-Star rosters

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal have made their roster picks for Sunday's NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover (4 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN, RDS).

So how did they do? Where is each one strongest? Weakest? Does either team have an edge? Here's a look at how the two captains did and what they focused on.

Goaltending

Staal started strong in the drafting process by taking hometown hero (and Carolina teammate) Cam Ward in the first round. It was a good start that was followed by the selection of Henrik Lundqvist in the sixth round and Montreal's resurgent Carey Price in Round 10. Team Lidstrom waited a little longer, taking Tim Thomas of Boston in the fifth round before going back-to-back in Rounds 9 and 10 with Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonas Hiller of Anaheim.

Edge -- Team Lidstrom. Even though Team Lidstrom waited longer to address goaltending, it has the clear advantage. First of all, the object of goaltending is to win and Lidstrom picked three of the five goalies atop the wins column this season. In fact, Lidstrom's trio has combined for 72 wins. More impressively, Lidstrom selections are three of the top six in goals-against average, including Thomas, who leads in GAA and save percentage. Also, Hiller is the hottest goalie in the League right now and has faced a League-high 1,462 shots -- not a bad thing in a game that sees goalies face a lot of pucks.

Defense

Team Lidstrom has a bit of everything on the blue line. First of all, it has Lidstrom himself, the best all-round defenseman of his generation. There's also a lot of offense in Chicago's Duncan Keith (the first defenseman taken), Nashville's Shea Weber, Atlanta's Dustin Byfuglien, Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes and Minnesota's Brent Burns. Team Staal went in a bit of a different direction. Yes, there is a good deal of offense on the blue line when you consider the presence of fleet-footed Dan Boyle of San Jose, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang, Washington's Mike Green and Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, the final defenseman taken. But Staal's team also has some defensive grit in Boston's Zdeno Chara and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, perhaps the two most physical defenders in the game.

Edge -- Team Lidstrom. While the Staal boys do have some defensive grit, Nicklas Lidstrom knows defenseman better than anybody, so he's got to get the nod here. The numbers are sobering. Team Lidstrom owns the top three scoring defensemen in the game in Yandle (44 points), Lidstrom (42) and Byfuglien (41). All told, Team Lidstrom outscores Team Staal, 214 to 168 and -- and, as we all know, this game is all about offense.

Centers

Team Staal started out loaded up the middle. Eric Staal, the captain, has 25 goals and 52 points. Alternate captain Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks, meanwhile is having a career year with 27 goals and 47 points. Staal added Carolina rookie sensation Jeff Skinner to the mix in what might have been the most popular move for the fans in attendance, and also added Colorado's Paul Stastny. Team Lidstrom had to build from scratch at the pivot, but that handicap did not hurt the team in the end. In fact, Lidstrom took six centers -- Vancouver's Henrik Sedin, Chicago's Jonathan Toews, Brad Richards of Dallas, Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles, Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Colorado's Matt Duchene

Edge -- Team Lidstrom. Lidstrom's six centers are a scary collection of pivots that is more about quality than quantity. Stamkos is the game's top-scoring center (67 points) and Henrik Sedin is only 6 points behind while Richards has 57 points. All three of those centers are outscoring Staal, Team Staal's top-scoring center.

Right Wing

Team Lidstrom was loaded on the right, with alternates Patrick Kane and Martin St. Louis both playing that side. But Lidstrom fortified that position even more by taking Philadelphia's Danny Briere, Minnesota's Marty Havlat and, with the final pick of the draft, Toronto's Phil Kessel. Team Staal answered by taking Columbus Rick Nash, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, Anaheim's Corey Perry and David Backes of St. Louis.

Edge -- Team Lidstrom. Staal's right wings are certainly the more physical and more defensive of the bunch, especially with the gritty Backes and Giroux, as well as Perry. But, Lidstrom's team again has the edge in offensive output, which figures to be the name of the game on Sunday. Plus, Lidstrom has the best right wing in Mr. St. Louis, who will once again be receiving passes from Stamkos, his regular center.

Left Wing

This could be Team Lidstrom's Achilles heel. Stacked at so many other positions, Lidstrom picked just one natural left wing in Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars. Lidstrom has already said he will move Richards, a natural center, to the left side as well. Team Staal, meanwhile, has a full compliment of left wings with Washington's Alex Ovechkin, Vancouver's Daniel Sedin, Chicago's Patrick Sharp and New Jersey's Patrik Elias.

Edge -- Team Staal. Even if Lidstrom had a full complement of left wings, he would lose this battle. Team Staal has the two best in the game right now in Ovechkin and Daniel Sedin. Sharp, in the midst of a brilliant year, is no slouch either. Elias has won two Stanley Cups and is a big-game player through and through. A dominating win for Team Staal.

Rookies

Edmonton's Taylor Hall won the coin toss and pledged his six-man delegation of rookies to Team Lidstrom. That means Hall, center Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers and Florida right wing Evgeny Dadonov are the forwards who will take part in Saturday's skills competition. They will be joined by defensemen Cam Fowler of Anaheim, Kevin Shattenkirk of Colorado and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of Phoenix. Team Staal answers with forwards Logan Couture of San Jose, Tyler Seguin of Boston, Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders and Tyler Ennis of Buffalo, as well as Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban and Carolina's Jamie McBain.

Edge -- Team Staal. The Staals have the most dynamic forward in San Jose's Couture and the most dynamic rookie defenseman in Montreal's Subban. In a skills competition, that is a huge advantage and gives the Staals a slight edge over Lidstrom in the rookie department.

Intangibles

This is often the tiebreaker whenever you examine the strengths and weaknesses of teams as loaded as these. Each has a number of intangibles working in its favor. Lidstrom is perhaps the most revered player in the League, and every player on his roster will want to win for the classy captain. Lidstrom also has Thomas as one of its goalies, and his battling attitude will rub off on everybody in the dressing room. The Staals answer with a huge hometown flavor, possessing all three Carolina Hurricane players. Plus, the Staal brothers -- Eric and Marc-- are on the same team and will have an incredible bond.

Edge -- Team Staal. There's no bigger advantage than having the crowd on your side -- and, make no mistake, Team Staal will be the fan favorite on Sunday and will have no trouble feeding off that energy. The question then becomes how Team Lidstrom will respond to wearing the black hats -- or helmets, if you will -- in this exhibition.

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I'm spent this morning just trying to focus but this is the biggest thing I took away from this weekend...

The players, the fans, the media that put themselves out there in the trenches with the common folk and all people that had a hand in putting the weekend together all got it. The game itself is what it is and no one is trying make it something its not. The events of the whole weekend are simply a celebration of the players and fans of the NHL and anyone disappointed in the competitiveness of the game just doesn't get it. It was a show where players get to relax and have some fun with each other and the fans got a close up personal look at all the players without the intensity of it meaning anything in the standings.

That understood, it was great weekend and I applaud this city and all the fans for making the weekend a total success. Put me down as one of the skeptics a couple of years back who wondered if Raleigh was ready to take on such a big event. Not only was Raleigh ready but the weekend events surpassed what I ever imagined they could be.

Kudos to Eric Staal who embraced the role that was handed to him. For a guy who doesn't like to be the center of attention, he was a true ambassador for the Canes, the league and us fans. Nic Lidstrom also did an exceptional job as did all the players that came to Raleigh.

Favorite parts of the weekend were meeting lots of the visiting fans from around the league and seeing them not only partake in but also enjoy the traditions we've built around here. I have a feeling our market has some new found respect from around the league and for the first time people are recognizing that maybe a non-traditional market isn't a bad thing. I love that we're known for the tailgating and was told over and over again from several media folks that the infamous tailgating was what they came to experience and see with their own eyes. The fans didn't disappoint and wow.... how lucky was it that mother nature finally decided to give us a 1 day break from the miserable winter we've been having? I swear Gary Bettman and Peter Karmanos both sold their souls for 70F.

Had a chance to meet some great folks ("Big Continent", you know who your are :lol: ) and take a full weekend to enjoy all that was made possible by a bunch of folks who haven't slept in weeks. ;)

Not sure what was up with the whole Guardian thing. They had me at Fan Fair and it looked like the Guardian Project might end up being a good thing but after the 2nd intermission, I was back thinking the what the...... :huh:

When I saw the presentation the folks on TV saw, it made slightly more sense (it was much better than what we saw in the arena) but I was surprised they didn't have the characters dressed up on the ice or at the very least some action figures being sold. I did see one of the comic books and my son thought it was pretty cool so maybe it'll pan out to something. In the mean time, the whole Guardian presentation needed about 10 minutes and 3 doors down should have come out for couple more songs.

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Well said, TSA. I'm extremely proud of the the Raleigh area. Pierre Mcguire said this was the best All Star weekend he ever attended.

I'm also very proud of Eric Staal. He did an AWESOME job all weekend long. He is such a class act. Great weekend!

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Didnt want to start a new topic for a simple question, so....

What happens to the All-Star decorations that are up now? The flags, signs, banners and stuff at the RBC center and around town. Will that stay up the rest of the season or come down?

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Mucking and Grinding

NHL beat writer Kevin Allen's take on the news

My 10 favorite moments of All-Star weekend

Posted 1/30/2011 8:45 PM EST

It's easy for a hockey purist to bash the All-Star weekend because it doesn't resemble hockey as we know it. Not a single hit was delivered in the 60 minutes.

But here are 10 happenings that I enjoyed in Raleigh this weekend:

1. Zdeno Chara jacking a puck 105.9 mph. As sports fans, we love numbers and we love speed. When I watched Chara lose to Shea Weber in the preliminary bout, the situation seemed like Olympic sprinting when the top competitors only run hard enough to reach finals. It seemed to me that Chara didn't put his best effort into his first two shots. But he brought in the jackhammer for the final.

2. The fantasy draft. I enjoyed it because it was multi-layered. The captains took their teammates, and their ex-teammates. Nick Lidstrom took Weber to play as his partner. Eric Staal took Patrick Sharp because they are both from Thunder Bay, Ontario. And I loved all the speculation about who would be last. David Backes was downright funny talking about his chances, and Phil Kessel handled being the last pick with dignity. C'mon folks. This kid beat cancer. Do you really believe he is going to be emotionally run over by being ranked 36th among 36 of the league's best players?

3. Raleigh News and Observer columnist Luke Decock and gracious Carolina captain Eric Staal sharing a lighthearted moment when Decock jokingly asked in a news conference whether he could talk about "his failure of leadership" in allowing his team to blow a 4-0 lead. Staal went along wiith the humor, saying "we got complacent and I will take the brunt of it."

4. Lidstrom posting a plus-7 in an All-Star Game with 21 goals scored. It's like he has a PhD in hockey. He can shine as a defenseman in a game where no defense is allowed.

5. Just seeing the teen idol-style popularity that rookie Jeff Skinner, 18, has in Carolina. Fans love this baby-faced kid for good reason. Right now he's just popular, but it won't take long for him to be a league star.

6. Staal giving his New York Rangers brother Marc Staal the business by picking Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist right after Marc had jokingly said on television how hurt he that Eric hadn't chosen him in the fantasy draft. When Marc heard the words "New York Ranger" coming out of Eric's mouth, he thought he was being taken. Eric said he did that deliberately, and then took Marc with the next pick. In a similar vein, I liked Patrick Kane waiting and waiting to take his buddy Jonathan Toews. He was yanking on Toews' chain. They are friends who squabble like an old married couple.

7. The uniqueness of Raleigh. Wish I had time to go to the Biscuitville restaurant. It has a sign in the window that reads: "Bologna is back." Of course, I want to know where bologna has been and what were the circumstances of its departure.

8. Love hearing a story of a local journalist about how you can get anything fried in Raleigh. He told us a story of having a hamburger served between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I'm not making this up.

9. Hearing that USA Hockey has 100,000 registered players under the age of eight. Wow, hockey has come a long way.

10. Alex Ovechkin throwing his stick during Matt Duchene's breakaway to create the first penalty shot in All-Star game history. It might have been more memorable if Duchene hadn't been snuffed by Lundqvist.

Edited by DianeNC

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What happens to the All-Star decorations that are up now? The flags, signs, banners and stuff at the RBC center and around town. Will that stay up the rest of the season or come down?

I believe the hockey gods would have them stay up until the Canes are out of the playoffs.

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Wow...if you haven't already had a chance to read Mike Sundheim's blog (link provided below) summing up what's being said about our area, the fans, how well we hosted the ASG, etc., you've GOT to check, it out. It seems we may have finally changed the outdated stereotypes so many have had of hockey in the South.

Guy Behind the Guy: All-Star Market

(Make sure not to miss the video clip of Pierre McGuire/TSN verbally gushing over Raleigh's handling of the event, the fans, the management, etc., etc., etc.)

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Raleigh scores with international buzz over All-Star Game

Raleigh, N.C. — The 2011 NHL All-Star Game is over, and the real winner might not have even been on Team Staal or Team Lidstrom.

Raleigh is getting accolades from all over the world for the way it handled the weekend's activities surrounding the All-Star Game.

"It's just been beyond anything we could have imagined," Scott Dupree, vice president for sports marketing at the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Monday.

A writer from Sports Illustrated called Raleigh the biggest star and the biggest winner of the weekend. Pierre McGuire, hockey analyst for Canadian sports network TSN, also praised the region.

"I've been going to All-Star games since 1990. This is the best All-Star Weekend I've ever attended," McGuire told millions of Canadian viewers. "A big reason why, not just because of the players on both teams, not just because of the NHL and their great ideas, is because of the people of North Carolina (and) the city of Raleigh."

About 400 to 500 journalists covered the game, and Dupree, who was co-chairman of the local organizing committee for the event, said he had heard people repeatedly compliment Raleigh's hospitality.

"It's going to enhance and strengthen Raleigh's reputation in general as a great sports or meeting destination and, in particular, Raleigh's reputation as a great sports city," he said.

Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford thanked area fans for creating the atmosphere that led to a successful weekend.

"The people of the Triangle ... were gracious and welcoming hosts for each and every one of our visitors from around the world," Rutherford said in a statement. "Everyone came together to make All-Star Weekend what it was, and we've never been more proud to call North Carolina home."

Although the financial impact of the All-Star Game won't be totaled for a few weeks, area officials said it likely will top $10 million.

The Eye store at the RBC Center saw a tenfold increase in its weekend sales, selling out all 2,000 of its All-Star jerseys at $225 each.

Alex Amra, co-owner of the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in Raleigh's Glenwood South neighborhood, said the restaurant's weekend sales were double a normal January weekend.

"We almost got a March Madness weekend," Amra said, noting the NCAA basketball tournament traditionally packs in customers.

He also was giddy about a commentator mentioning the restaurant by name during the All-Star Game.

"It's really humbling, and it's fun. We were like little kids in a candy store. It's pretty cool," he said.

Amra said the pleasant weather over the weekend probably added to the warm reception out-of-town visitors received, and he predicted it could convince hockey fans to move to the Triangle.

"I don't know if (WRAL Chief Meteorologist) Greg Fishel had anything to do with it, but thanks," he said.

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I'm just a simple Caniac. My son and I went to the all-star game and tried to get pictures with a fan from every team (where were the panther fans!?) We had a wonderful time and everyone we spoke to from all over (and we spoke to hundreds) without exception was enthused with Raleigh and the whole All-star deal. I just wanted it to go well, to be recognized as fans that loved hockey in our own way and have broadcasters and fans go back and say what a great team and place we have here.... and boy did we deliver. When Brindy came out the roof almost came off the building and as I read the universally fantastic articles about the fans and the place I am as proud now of our team and our area as I have been as a canes fan. Ever. Kudos to all - awesome job.

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I had an absolutely GREAT time at the events.

Since I like Lidstrom and think he is such a classy guy,

(had his three sons with him----as did Danny Briere) the fact that they won the very close, back and forth

game didn't bother me. Staal"s team won the skills, after all. And two cars were given away---one to

a member of each team. It all worked out very fairly, I think.

But I was most proud of the Canes organization, the City of Raleigh----and of course, all of

my fellow Caniacs .......down to the chanting of the O'lay (?sp) song when the Montreal players were

introduced. (that was on the broadcast feeds---hope it was received well in the hockey mecca.)

And Pierre McGuire's glowing praise may change some minds up north.

But we did it "Southern style" with the tailgating and all. In my book, this market has a charm

of it's own----more laid back and relaxed. Wouldn't want it any other way !! I hope we convinced

people we are serious about our hockey !

GO CANES !! GO CANIACS !!

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Michael Farber SI: There is no better place in hockey in the United States than Carolina deep in the playoffs.

How good is that from a global publication? And ---- ITS TRUE!

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I had an absolutely GREAT time at the events.

Since I like Lidstrom and think he is such a classy guy,

(had his three sons with him----as did Danny Briere) the fact that they won the very close, back and forth

game didn't bother me. Staal"s team won the skills, after all. And two cars were given away---one to

a member of each team. It all worked out very fairly, I think.

But I was most proud of the Canes organization, the City of Raleigh----and of course, all of

my fellow Caniacs .......down to the chanting of the O'lay (?sp) song when the Montreal players were

introduced. (that was on the broadcast feeds---hope it was received well in the hockey mecca.)

And Pierre McGuire's glowing praise may change some minds up north.

But we did it "Southern style" with the tailgating and all. In my book, this market has a charm

of it's own----more laid back and relaxed. Wouldn't want it any other way !! I hope we convinced

people we are serious about our hockey !

GO CANES !! GO CANIACS !!

Its fun reading everyone's posts and hearing how proud they feel. What I really love is that Raleigh didn't try to copy any other traditional market, this market has really carved out its own unique traditions and culture surrounding the team. This market was the perfect venue for the league to try out its new All Star format, which was as unconventional as our market.

I'm not sure I agree about having to convince anyone that we're serious about hockey nor would I want to. I actually think just the opposite and that the message we sent loud and clear was that we support our team and are passionate fans but don't need take it as seriously as some big markets do. Its probably one of the reasons so many players like playing here, come back after they leave here and eventually dig in roots and never leave. They're allowed to live their lives here.

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They're allowed to live their lives here.

Except for Skinner, whom apparently will not be able to walk down the street without getting mugged by 14-18 year old girls. He needs a few years of hockey scars lol :D (nothing too serious of course)

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I'm not sure I agree about having to convince anyone that we're serious about hockey nor would I want to. I actually think just the opposite and that the message we sent loud and clear was that we support our team and are passionate fans but don't need take it as seriously as some big markets do. Its probably one of the reasons so many players like playing here, come back after they leave here and eventually dig in roots and never leave. They're allowed to live their lives here.

I think I stated that wrong. What I meant was we are serious about our support for our hockey team, and furthermore we

know something about the game of hockey. But our style is more "laid back" as evidenced by our tailgating and

"Southern Hospitality". (And it is likely the Southern hospitality that prompts us to give our players some space)

If that makes me sound like a "native", I am not. I am a long ago transplant.

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I think I stated that wrong. What I meant was we are serious about our support for our hockey team, and furthermore we

know something about the game of hockey. But our style is more "laid back" as evidenced by our tailgating and

"Southern Hospitality". (And it is likely the Southern hospitality that prompts us to give our players some space)

If that makes me sound like a "native", I am not. I am a long ago transplant.

Oops, sorry I missed your point. Well said.

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What happens to the All-Star decorations that are up now? The flags, signs, banners and stuff at the RBC center and around town. Will that stay up the rest of the season or come down?

I believe the hockey gods would have them stay up until the Canes are out of the playoffs.

I don't know what will happen to the decorations out in town, but after the game all the stuff inside the RBC Center was taken down. We went up to the Ledge bar after the game and as soon as the arena was empty, all the banners came down (good thing I took photos when I did, because about 2 minutes later they were all gone). Here's a guy ripping the ad stickers off the dashers:

bigballostickers.jpg

When the game commences this evening, the RBC will look just like it usually does, at least on the inside.

Edited by romansperson

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