The AHL All-Star Classic kicked-off last night with the Skills Competition, and three of the Toronto Marlies were there to show off their talents in front of the crowd in Laval. Joseph Woll, Noel Hoefenmayer, and Logan Shaw represented the team, and they got the kind of welcome you would expect the Marlies to have in Laval.
A warm welcome for the Marlies from the fans in Laval. pic.twitter.com/PuXd6aRogK— Pension Plan Puppets (@PPPLeafs) February 5, 2023
Joseph Woll had a custom set of pads for the game, plus a new red mask I really liked with the Marlies logo on one side and AHL on the other.
Woll was put to the test through the competition too, like during the Rapid Fire challenge where he turned away eight of ten shots, five each by ex-Marlies/Leafs player Brett Seney, who is now with the Rockford Ice Hogs, and Thomas Harley from the Texas Stars (and yes, that’s eight out of ten, not nine as in the Tweet.)
Woll stops 9 out of the 10 in the rapid fire challenge. pic.twitter.com/Yu348hgoDA— Pension Plan Puppets (@PPPLeafs) February 5, 2023
Noel Hoefenmayer placed well in the hardest shot competition, and while he didn’t win it, he still managed a blistering 99.2 mph or 159.6 kph.
Noel Hoefenmayer has a hard shot. pic.twitter.com/EIlxZMFPev— Pension Plan Puppets (@PPPLeafs) February 6, 2023
Overall, the Eastern Conference won the event, and Joe Woll was voted the best goalie, which also got the expected reaction from the fans in Laval.
Woll is best goalie in the competition and the crowd in Laval is loving it. pic.twitter.com/NvuFwxmFn8— Pension Plan Puppets (@PPPLeafs) February 6, 2023
The AHL Skills Competition is always a great event because the league removes the glass on the side of the arena so fans can directly interact with the players and get autographs. The event is also an easily digestible two hours, which I know for young kids is about the maximum length they can stay interested in anything.
Speaking of kids, the wee little son of Syracuse Crunch captain Gabriel Dumont stole the show.
That's #AHLAllStar Mateo Dumont to you. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/kVKuYCjxBH— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) February 6, 2023
The actual All-Star Game is tonight, and we will continue our coverage. Unlike the NHL All-Star game which pits east vs. west, the AHL has a division-based tournament, with each of the four divisions playing a quick single period game against each of the three other divisions, and then the top two division team move on to a final deciding game. Marlies Coach Greg Moore will be running the North Division Team tonight.
We’ll have more on the game, commentary, and some interviews with players on the experience, and the Marlies season-to-date all in a wrap-up post in the next few days.
The Leafs are on their bye-week now, with their next games an away-home back-to-back with the Blue Jackets on Friday and Saturday. In the meantime, they are somewhere probably significantly warmer than here.
Elsewhere in the NHL, there was a trade last night you probably missed while taking your own all-star break.
The #SJSharks have acquired a fourth-round pick from Seattle in exchange for defenseman Jaycob Megna.— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) February 6, 2023
And here is your bizarre A level minor hockey moment of this season. Note the Danville (Illinois) Storm are the home team here and they didn’t show up for their own game:
SPHL drama in Danville, where host Vermilion County never showed up for game vs Quad City. It's a forfeit win for QC. Most bizarre thing I've seen in 40 years covering pro hockey. QC bused in, skated warmups, lined up national anthem/faceoff, skated a lap, then saluted "crowd" pic.twitter.com/5LN81QTEd2— Dave Eminian (@icetimecleve) February 5, 2023