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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a day meeting NHL players, showing off your hockey skills, checking out NHL memorabilia, and getting to know the league's 32 mascots? The NHL recently hosted an event just like that for fans from all over the world, with a special experience just for kids who love science, technology, engineering, and math!

As part of 2024 All-Star Weekend in Toronto, the NHL hosted both the 2024 Hyundai NHL Fan Fair and the NHL All-Star Future Goals Kids Day on February 2 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Both events were fun-packed experiences for young hockey fans.

Kids Day was a morning event for 500 Toronto-area students who participated in the NHL Future Goals Hockey Scholar program in their schools. The program helps students learn science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through virtual hockey experiences, such as designing the perfect stick and determining the ideal puck drop height. Nearly 4 million students have received 7.58 million hours of learning through Future Goals since 2014. 

The NHL hosted a discussion panel for the kids featuring Hockey Hall of Fame forward Darryl Sittler, former NHL player and NHL Director of Youth Strategy Andrew Ference, Toronto Maple Leafs in-game host Danielle Emanuele, and Glenn Moffatt from SAP, one of the companies that works with the NHL to track and provide statistics. They discussed how STEM is important to hockey players, trainers, and coaches—from comparing statistics to using physics to improve your game.

Once the panel was over, the students had a chance to spend a couple of hours exploring all of the games, displays, and activities of the NHL Fan Fair before it opened to the public. They also had an exclusive opportunity to meet Darryl Sittler and get his autograph.

In the afternoon the doors were opened to Fan Fair ticket holders, who came to experience Day Two of four full days of hockey heaven for NHL fans! The event featured 300,000 square feet of family-friendly fun, activities, games, displays, player appearances, a street hockey tournament, watch parties for the All-Star events being broadcast on television, and mascot competitions.

Highlights of the games and challenges were the hardest shot competition—where fans could grab a stick, take a slapshot, and check their speed—as well as accuracy shooting, a goaltending challenge, air hockey, and a stick handling game. The Fan Fair also had some other interactive events, such as mini golf and a Playstation booth where fans could try out the NHL 24 video game.

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Fan Fair also hosted a street hockey showcase tournament run by the NHL STREET league, with NHL mascots joining in some of the games. Another really exciting part of Fan Fair was player appearances. Players such as Tom Wilson (Washington Capitals), Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens), Frank Vatrano (Anaheim Ducks), Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks), Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks), Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa Senators), Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres), Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes), Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Travis Konecny (Philadelphia Flyers) were all at the event for either autograph signings or appearances. There were also Q&A sessions with Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Morgan Rielly. Fans appreciated the opportunities to see their hockey heroes and ask them questions.

All 32 NHL mascots participated in a variety of events during Fan Fair, including a pickup hockey game and a skills competition showdown. They seemed to love being silly and interacting with fans throughout the day!

And finally, one of the biggest attractions at the event was the trophy room. It was a large, open room with a high ceiling, and was filled with display cases containing all of the NHL’s trophies such as the Conn Smythe, Hart, and Rocket Richard. The highlight of the trophy room was the Stanley Cup. Fans had an opportunity to walk up onto a raised platform and pose with or take pictures of the coveted trophy.

The NHL Fan Fair was a fun and memorable event for hockey fans of all ages. Keep an eye on the future host cities for the NHL All-Star Weekend—maybe your city will be the next to host this amazing celebration of hockey!