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2017 NHL All Star Game: Skills Competition Preview

Less Wookies More Rookies.

NHL: All Star Game-Skills Competition
The only Wookie of interest this year is Auston Matthews
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Auston Matthews has had a fantastic rookie season so far for the Maple Leafs, and he’s been rewarded with an All Star Game nod. All year he’s been given chances to prove himself, and every time he’s excelled. He did it at the World Cup, he’s done it with the Leafs, and now he faces perhaps his greatest challenge: making the Skills Competition interesting!

In all seriousness, I’m actually interested enough to watch some of it this year. I’ve gushed over all the gifs of Matthews’ warmups where he casually dangles like a God like it was nothing. Now we have the chance to see him go head to head with Sidney freaking Crosby in a sniping and dangling competition? And if he manages to beat him, he might face Laine? Hell to the yes!

A quick recap: the NHL decided that they didn’t want to have the Breakaway Challenge anymore, because apparently the players were showing dangerous amounts of personality and fun and they can’t have that. This year, they will have six contests (I am omitting the stupid brand sponsors and trademark names because fuck em)

Skills Challenge Relay

A timed relay with seven skaters and one goalie from each divisional team. It has four relays that include five ‘challenges’, including:

  1. One-timers
  2. Passing
  3. Puck control
  4. Stick-handling
  5. Goalie goals

Some of the challenges have to be fully completed before the team can move on to the next one, and some have a cut-off time that can be finished sooner.

Here’s the list of what each player’s assignment is per team:

List of participants per division

I think we’re all loving the idea of Matthews showing off his stick handling.

Four Line Challenge

In typical NHL fashion, their new events that they came up with for this year are stupidly and unnecessarily complicated. The TL;DR of this event is each divisional team has four shooters at different spots on the ice, and they take turns taking shots and gain points for hitting certain targets. The fun rule is the team can choose to use a goalie as a shooter and get more points for targets they hit. Here’s the participants chosen for each team:

Accuracy Shooting

This one at least is a traditional event that we all know. Guy gets passed puck, guy shoots puck at four targets at each corner of the net. The fewer shots needed to hit all four targets and the faster you complete it, the better. Here’s the list of participants:


[clap. clap. clap clap clap]


[clap. clap. clap clap clap]

Fastest Skater

Also self-explanatory: the guy who can skate around the ice fastest is deemed the fastest skater, but not the Fastest Guy In The Universe(TM). That still goes to Berta. Here’s the participants:

Hardest Shot

I’m gonna let Phaneuf take the lead on this one:


Thanks, Dion!

Here’s the participants:

Discover NHL Shootout

This is the super serial replacement for the Breakaway Challenge, except not any fun. From what I can gather, it uses normal shootout rules but every player on the team (including the goalie?) gets a shot and at the end of it the team with the most goals wins.

Celebrity Shootout

There’s also a celebrity shootout where former hockey greats face non-hockey celebrities in a fun contest for charity. Hooray!