How retro was the ’81, ’02 NHL ASG in LA?

To throw some perspective on how expansive this weekend’s NHL All-Star game and festivities have become, aside from it honoring the 100th anniversary of the league, go back 36 years to the first time Southern California was given the opportunity to play host.
For one, it wasn’t even a weekend. The 1981 exhibition at the Inglewood Forum was on a Tuesday night. The Canada Broadcasting Company, aka “Hockey Night in Canada,” owned the TV rights, so a group in Philadelphia cobbled together 13 affiliates to carry its version of a broadcast to major U.S. cities.
You want some Snoop Dogg for the festivities? He was 10-year-old pup in Long Beach, long before the Ice Dogs.
“No fan fest, no skills competition … just a banquet before the game that had some Hollywood involvement that made it feel big-time,” said Jim Fox, the Kings’ long-time TV analyst who was in his rookie season as a player with the franchise at the time.
“Looking back, especially after having two All-Star games now in L.A. since then, that one in ’81 almost seems kind of small-town. It really just shows how far all this has come — shutting down the league for a long stretch is more a celebration of the entire NHL instead of just the All-Stars.”
Here is a look at how the two previous L.A.-based (there has not been one yet in Anaheim) All-Star events played out … at this link.

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