AHO HEADS TO ALL-STAR GAME

Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes is headed to Toronto for his third NHL All-Star Game appearance. The event will be held Saturday at Scotiabank Arena.

Aho said, “Being around the best players in the world is great. It means you’ve had a good first half of the season.” He added, “I’ll try to soak it all in.”

The 26-year-old forward is not usually considered one of the league’s top young superstars. But his stellar two-way play and consistency make him invaluable to the Hurricanes.

UNDER THE RADAR STAR

Aho was ranked 44th among NHL players in a preseason poll. His coach Rod Brind’Amour said, “We love everything about him. He does everything right.”

This season, Aho leads the team with 54 points. He is averaging a career-high 1.20 points per game. If he maintains that pace, he could set a new personal best with 95 points.

Team captain Jordan Staal said Aho absolutely deserves superstar status. He noted that Aho’s well-rounded game and competitive drive make him a complete player.

Aho’s defensive commitment may limit his scoring. But it helps the Hurricanes compete for the Stanley Cup every year. That goal drives Aho more than individual stats.

CHANGES TO ALL-STAR WEEKEND

The 2023 All-Star Game features some format changes. There will be a fantasy draft to select the four tournament teams rather than divisional squads.

Only 12 players will compete in the skills competition. The winner gets $1 million. Aho, despite winning the accuracy shooting contest last year, was not chosen this time.

Each All-Star team will also have a celebrity captain, including pop star Justin Bieber. Aho was drafted by Nathan MacKinnon’s team, reuniting him with Penguins star Sidney Crosby.

In past All-Star Games, Aho has won prize money by helping his Metropolitan division team take the tournament title. He hopes to repeat that feat in Toronto.

BACK TO BUSINESS

After the All-Star break, Aho heads back to Raleigh. The Hurricanes face the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks at home on February 6.

The Canucks recently acquired former Hurricane Elias Lindholm in a trade with the Calgary Flames. Carolina has won 11 of its last 14 games and sits second in the Metropolitan division with 61 points.

“I like our mindset,” said Aho. “We’ll keep trying to get better every day.”

The Hurricanes hope adding North Carolina sports betting this year will increase fan engagement. Those 21 and older can now use NC sports betting apps like DraftKings North Carolina. The company offers a generous $200 bonus using the DraftKings North Carolina promo code.

Such North Carolina sportsbook promo codes entice new bettors to try placing wagers. As the Canes gear up for the playoffs, Carolina fans have more ways to join the excitement.

✅ Fact Checked on February 2, 2024 by Ken Weaver