The Breakaway Challenge is no more, after agreement from the league and the players. Last year’s event featuring Brent Burns dressing up like Brent Burns, and PK Subban dressing up like Jaromir Jagr was the final one we’ll see.
The NHL introduced the event in 2008 as a version of the NBA’s slam dunk contest. It was fun, but the players ran out of ideas I suppose and help move it along to the dumpster outside the NHL offices.
In it’s place is the “Four line challenge”, Elliot Friedman has the details in 30 Thoughts:
With the demise of the breakaway challenge, which was as much the players’ decision as the league’s, the skills competition adds what’s called “The Four Line Challenge” as a replacement. Players will try to hit targets in the net from the closest blueline, centre ice, the far blueline and then the opposite goal line. Goalies will be offered the chance to try from the farthest distance, with more points available if they can do it.
We’ve all seen this game played out during intermission, a target is put in front of the net, and the prize gets bigger and bigger the farther away from the net the participant gets. Here’s an example from the University of Michigan:
I was at a Marlies game and a 12 year old scored from the far face off circles to win free movies for a year. It was amazing, the kid had accuracy.
Now I wonder, what other intermission games could be added to the All Star Game?
Everyone knows chuck a puck right? Teams sell a soft squishy puck to throw on the ice and the person who gets their closest to centre ice wins a prize. Usually the money goes to charity. Here’s an example:
Fun eh? At IceDogs games the mascot stands at centre ice, so you have a target taunting you. This could be the NHL’s version of a dunk tank. Have each team pick a charity, charge $5 a puck, sell them in the four team colours and stand Gary Bettman at centre ice. Teams get points based on how many of their pucks hit Bettman. They’d bring in so much cash they’d rival the GDP of Latvia.
Two fans are given tricycles and have to ride them around the rink:
Let’s make this a relay. Four players per team, each player must ride a quarter of the way around the rink and all teams are riding at the same time.
I know players were trying to get away from looking goofy, but if we give them their sticks, we could see a hockey version of Road Rash, and I’d love that.
Stretching a bungee cord across the ice, one (un?)lucky player sits in an inner tube as his teammates pull him back. When they get as far as they go, the player is flung into some inflatable bowling pins on the other end of the ice. Standard 10 pin scoring applies.
Whatever the hell this is
Every game has the host running around the crowd asking sponsor related trivia questions, why not ask the players? We could make it a true trivia game, but I’d prefer the host randomly popping up next to players, jamming a camera into their faces and asking them a question. It should go well, as long as it’s not about cheese....
We all know how this works. Now make the participants super competitive top of their game athletes playing to win their team a million dollars. Hell yes.
Mites, Pee-Wees, whatever you want to call their skill level, this is the most adorable part of any hockey intermission.
Many NHLers have kids. They often bring those kids to the All Star Game to watch from the bench, so why not combine the two? What could be more adorable than each player subbing in one of their kids onto their team, and letting them loose? If a player doesn't have a kid, they can be a big brother for the day and find a local kid or fly a fan out for the game.
We’d get to see adorable kids whip around the ice and maybe one of the players goes full hockey dad mid game. It’s a win win!
The new accuracy shooting challenge should be fun to watch in this years All Star Game, especially if the goalies hit a target from across the ice.
Let’s keep it going NHL, and go all the way with the intermission games.