NHL All-Stars got a glimpse of the reception they'll be facing in Ottawa this weekend before they even left the Ottawa International Airport Thursday.

Fans and autograph collectors awaited the hockey players at the Ottawa International Airport as they left their regular teams and got ready for the festivities.

"I wasn't expecting this many people," said Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin. "Obviously there are a few guys coming in today. It's going to be a great time and it's nice to already see it."

All-Star weekend got underway Thursday afternoon and continues through the All-Star Game Sunday, with hockey lovers travelling to Ottawa to join hometown fanatics.

"I'm coming from California. I'm a Mighty Ducks fan personally," said Dustin Duimstra, who hasn't missed an All-Star Game in 13 years. "I come every year to All-Star weekend, get some autographs."

"That's what these things are all about," said Eric Condon, who brought his two-year-old grandson Luca. "Relive the past and be young again."

Some All-Stars will be reliving their own hockey memories of the city.

"I can't wait to see the guys I played with," said St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott, who was traded from Ottawa last year. "The guys at the rink, it will just be good to see friends and family up here too."

"Obviously getting drafted here and my first all-star game," said Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle, who also scored a famous game-tying goal against Russia in the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships at Scotiabank Place. "It's been a fun city to come to so far. Hopefully I can keep the memories going here."

Fans said there's also a chance for them to make memories as they meet their idols.

"I'm really excited because you get to see all the best players in the NHL at one rink," said Parker Varnai.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua