UMass Lowell Connector Logo

Miami ice: NHL All-Star weekend in Sunrise, Florida

(Photo courtesy of NHL) The NHL took to the Florida Panthers home ice for this All-Star Weekend

Riley Fontana
Connector Editor

The 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend was hosted in Sunrise, Florida on February 3rd and 4th. These games contained skills competitions and 3 on 3 games, pitting each conference in the league against the other. The events are long awaited by fans every season, as it allows players not only to showcase their in game skills but their specific honed talents on the ice.

With one player chosen from each team and twelve players voted in by fans, there was a lot of talent taking the ice. The competitions this year were some tried and true ones that appear every year including the fastest skater, accuracy shooting, breakaway challenge and hardest shot. They also introduced a few new ones that fit the Florida host city including Pitch ‘n Puck, Tendy Tandem and Splash Shot.

The fastest skater competition is as straight forward as they get. The players competing are timed to see how fast they are able to complete one whole lap around the rink. Competing this year was Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson, Los Angeles Kings forward Kevin Fiala and Carolina Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov. After the first round where Makar, a fan favorite to win, wiped out during one of his turns Fiala and Svechnikov advanced to the second round. Svechnikov took the title of fastest skater with a time of 13.699 beating out Fialas at 14.114.

The breakaway challenge is one of the more fun competitions that come around every year. It pits a few players up against a goalie to score style points while attempting to score a goal. This year’s competitors were Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, Boston Bruins forward David Pastrňák, Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk, and Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin and his son with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby. With

the players drawing inspiration from “Happy Gilmore” and “Miami Vice” the duo with the kid won. Scoring a perfect forty points the two Ovechkins won along with Crosby.

This year’s accuracy shooting competition saw ten different players competing. The final consisted of New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson outshooting Calgary Flames forward Nazem Kadri. Kadri had been a fan favorite to win after outshooting Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid. McDavid was slotted high to win, especially after having the fastest time in the first round.

The next event was the hardest shot. Alexander Ovechkin was a fan and judge favorite to win, especially when he had taken the title in past years. Ovechkin came in fourth with only Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones falling behind him. Taking the third slot was Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey and the second going to Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. Taking the title of the hardest shot was Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson.

The Tendy Tandem was a new competition made to show off goalie skills and was definitely lost on fans due to its complicated rules. It did allow for goaltenders of rival teams, the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets, to come together to win. Goalies Juusee Sarros and UMass Lowell alumni Connor Hellebuyck overcame the complex rules to win over the other goaltenders.

The Splash Shot was another new and confusing competition that mixed accuracy shooting with dunk tanks. It pitted players against teammates or friends on other teams and had them shoot surfboards to drop the other person into the water. The Colorado Avalanche pair consisting of forward Mikko Rantanen and defenseman Cale Makar won with a time of 18.7 seconds.

The final new competition was the Pitch ‘n Puck. It mixed golf and hockey, allowing fans to witness one of the players’ biggest pastimes. Forward of the Colombus Blue Jackets, Johnny Gaudreau, took home the win with a total of 3 strokes. He went up against forward Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson and Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki. This goofy competition also played into the Florida setting, seeing as the state is littered with places to play golf.

The actual All-Star games took place on the 4th, with the Pacific taking on the Central divisions. There are usually high scores in these games with the Central taking a 6 to 4 win over the Pacific. The Central team has been down on their luck and has not won the overall All-Star game in a while, and this year was not their lucky break.

The next game consisted of the Metropolitan against the Atlantic division. The Atlantic pulled way ahead with a ten-to-six win. The final match-up was the Atlantic versus the Central division. The Central was at a slight disadvantage having had to sit and cool down while the Atlantic played their first game. The Atlantic division pulled ahead for a 5 to 7 win.

Related posts