An all-star game is an exhibition game that purports to showcase the best players (the "stars") of a sports league.
The exhibition is between two teams organized solely for the event, usually representing the league's teams based on region or division, but sometimes dividing the players by an attribute such as nationality.
Selection of the players may be done by a vote of the coaches and/or news media; in professional leagues, fans may vote on some or all of the roster.
An all-star game usually occurs at the midpoint of the regular season.
An exception is American football's Pro Bowl, which occurs at the end of the season.
All-star games are usually organized like regular games, but are often played with less emphasis on victory.
Competing goals are to give many players time in the game and to avoid injury.
In ice hockey, for example, there is no serious checking, while in American football no blitzing is allowed.
In basketball, there is virtually no defense played until the final quarter.
However, the Australian State of Origin series does involve physicality that often leads to on-field scuffles.
The current format of the NHL All-Star Game differs significantly from that of normal league games.
Instead of a single game, the event is organized as a four-team knockout tournament, with each team representing one of the league's divisions.