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NHL All-Star Skills Competition: The Best Skills Shine

The All-Star Weekend is fast approaching, with the competitions being bigger and better than ever this year. The NHL is bringing the best talent with them from Feb. 1 - 3 in Toronto, Canada. 

This showcase usually takes place during the NHL’s bye week, with the Skills Competition being set on the second day of the weekend. The format of this competition starts with a player draft, followed by a skills competition, and ends with the all-star game itself. The Skills Competition is often regarded as the most entertaining part of the weekend, where all the players display their skills in a variety of different activities throughout the night.

The Skills Competition has different challenges that the players participate in, ranging from the fastest skater relay to the breakaway challenge. The Breakaway Challenge is the most well known of the festivities, with the players competing in a “slam dunk” style challenge, showcasing their creative skills. The All-Star Game featured this challenge for the first time in 2008, with Alexander Ovechkin, from the Washington Capitals as the winner.

In this first set, Ovechkin decided to get some assist from fellow Russian, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin assisted Ovechkin before his attempt in giving him a pair of sunglasses and a hat with the Canadian flag on it. Ovechkin then came down for the shot, with two sticks in his hand. Ovechkin then ditched one stick, and proceeded to score with the other one.

Courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Considered one of the more memorable moments in Skills Competition history, this creativity displayed by Ovechkin was one of the first unique bits that the Breakaway Challenge had seen. The assist by Malkin makes this even more memorable, as this was unexpected, and gave fans a good laugh in one of the very first Skills Competitions that the NHL put on. This also gave Ovechkin his first breakaway challenge winning title.

Teammate assists are what make the Skills Competition so special. Different stars around the league coming together to have fun for a weekend is always something that is considered to be memorable and fun. 

The 2012 Breakaway Challenge was not much different, this time with Chicago Blackhawks teammates Marián Hossa and Patrick Kane teaming up for one of the most memorable moments in All-Star history.Kane and Hossa teamed up for this challenge, where Hossa assisted Kane, making him wear a red cape and glasses. Kane’s display was done so after Clark Kent, aka Superman.

Courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kane ended up skating down the ice to take the shot, and surprised the fans by going on his stomach to shoot the puck from the ice. This moment is definitely a standout one, as this is the moment many hockey fans think of when looking towards All-Star weekend. Kane’s act was so good, it gave him the honors of winning the competition that year, as well as the nickname “SuperKane.” 

Perhaps one of the most iconic Skills Competition moments came in 2016. This year, P.K. Subban was deemed the winner, and for very good reason. Subban decided to be very creative in his attempt, by dressing as NHL legend Jaromír Jágr.

Courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

For his attempt, Subban came down the ice in complete Jágr gear, even equipped with his old school JOFA helmet. He skated down the ice, made  a nice deke move and eventually scored. Subban celebrated his goal by doing the famous Jaromír Jágr salute, which secured him the win in the competition.

The Breakaway Challenge is one of the most iconic events the All-Star Game has. Ovechkin, Kane and Subban have all displayed just how creative this event allows players to be. The creativity that these players show display their true talents, and All-Star Weekend would not be the same without this. Looking towards this year's competition, the players are sure to be displaying new talents and tricks, with the talent as high as ever.

Edited by: Jessi Dworkin

Social Media Content Created by: Audrey Pearsall

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