A weekend for the NHL: playing like all-stars


Megan McKay, Staff writer

The NHL All-Star Weekend has officially come to a close after an exciting weekend of competitions and fun. The NHL All-Star Weekend is an exhibition tournament that occurs every year. The NHL brings together the top players in their league from every team and division in order to promote each individual’s talents and grow the sport as a whole. The weekend is made up of various competitions on the ice and recently in this year, there were events off the ice. This year’s All-Star Weekend was held in Sunrise, Florida, which is home to the Florida Panthers. It is held during the regular season so many players could not resist a vacation down into the sun. In 2003 the Panthers last held the All-Star Weekend and were supposed to host it back in 2021, but it was not held due to the pandemic. On Feb. 3 the All-Star Weekend kicked off with the Skills Competition. Fans were most excited for the skills portion of the weekend because they have the chance to cheer on their team’s players. Every year the fastest skater competition is held and this year Andrei Svechnikov from the Carolina Hurricanes took home the win with a time of 13.699 seconds. The record in the competition was set by Detroit Red Wing forward Dylan Larkin, his time was 13.172. The next competition was the hardest shot, which is another fan favorite as fans jaws drop at the sheer strength of many of the league’s best. Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks surprisingly won the competition with a shot of 103.2mph. It is not very often a forward, especially a smaller guy like Pettersson, beats out a big defenseman outright. The current record for the hardest shot is held by AHL star and former St. Louis Blue, Martin Frk who set the record of 109.2 in the 2020 AHL Skills Competition. The Hardest Shot was then followed by the Breakaway Challenge. The challenge allows players the chance to show off their creativity in shootout style. The winners were Sydney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and his son Sergei. Sergei was the star of the show as he was out on the ice with his dad through the event showing off his skills at just four years old. The Captains Crosby and Ovechkin along with Sergei got some of the biggest roars as Sergei put the puck behind goalie legend Roberto Luongo during the challenge. The on ice skills competition then ended with the Accuracy Shooting Competition. The goal of the event is to hit down four targets placed in each corner of the net as fast as possible. The winner was New York Islander Brock Nelson with a time of 12.419 seconds. Many stars have gone 4/4 in the competition, but the record is held by former Vancouver Canuck Daniel Sedin who had an incredible time of 7.3 seconds. There was no other way to cap off the Skills series of the weekend than with competitions off the ice in sunny Florida. Splash Shot and Pitch ‘n Puck were the two events that were held outside. Splash Shot took place on Fort Lauderdale’s beach and featured players shooting pucks at giant surfboards until they hit the last target which would send their opponent into the dunk tank. The winners of the special Florida edition challenge were Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche. Finally, the Pitch ‘n Puck took place at Plantation Reserve Golf Course where the event had players on a par 4 attempting to sink a putt with hockey sticks. Nick Suzuki of the Montreal Candaiens won with a birdie. The Skills Competition was more than just fun and games as each winner went home with $30,000. The money does not stop there however, as the winners of the All-Star Game split a cash prize of $1 million dollars. This is a nice break from the regular stress of a season and it is always enjoyable to see the players having fun while still competing against some of their rivals in a more casual setting.