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NHL All-Star: Skills Competition


Alexander Ovechkin has won the Breakaway Challenge for the past three years, but won't be competing this year as he's pulled out...

Starting tomorrow, over the NHL All-Star weekend in Ottawa, there will be the Fantasy Draft, the Night Skate on Friday and then the Skills Competition on Saturday. The main event, the All-Star game itself, takes place on Sunday at 4pm (ET) and is live on CBC.

Unfamiliar with the Skills Competition? Let us explain. The captains of each side (Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson) will decide which players will take part in which event, and in which order. The format of player distribution has changed in the last few years, previously it was simply East vs. West. Now, players are picked by the captains in a draft situation. Last year saw the Sedin twins play against each other for the first time in their lives.

Your hosts for the night are Ron MacLean and Kelly Hrudey, who'll take you through the six events. They are Fastest Skater, the Breakaway Challenge, Accuracy Shooting, the Skills Challenge Relay, Hardest Shot and the Elimination Shoot Out.

Fastest Skater: There will be five races, with two skaters at one time. Then, a final match race featuring the fastest skaters from each team. Each heat winner will get one point, with another point going to the overall winner.

Breakaway Challenge: This is where you come in. Each skater (three from each team) will try to impress for your votes, by doing the best routine possible. Each skater gets three attempts, and can use any part of the offensive zone of the rink. Normal NHL penalty shot rules don't apply - this is purely about flair. One point goes to the winner.

Accuracy Shooting: Four players from each team will take part in this event to determine the NHL's most accurate shooter. Two of the players will stand on each side of each goal, alternately passing pucks to a shooter 25ft away. There are four styrofoam targets attached to the goal posts, and the shooter who hits these four targets first wins. The winner of each match scores a point.

Skills Challenge Relay: Here, fastest time wins. It's not like a relay you'd see in the Olympics, there's no baton and instead of a race around the track, it's a race to complete certain challenges. 16 players from each team take part, and there are four relays where the players will race to complete various skills, from passing to puck control to stick handling.

Hardest Shot: As simple as it sounds, four players from each team will have a radar determine the speed of their shots. One catch, the puck has to go in the net. Once everyone's competed, the final two will then compete against each other to be named the hardest shooter.

Elimination Shoot Out: Again, this one's pretty much as it sounds. 15 players will take part, and every goal scored counts as a point for the respective team. If you score in the first round you move on to the second round, and so on. Here, NHL shootout rules do apply. The winner is the player who scores in the final round when all others don't.

For full coverage of the NHL All-Star Weekend, visit

The stars will hit the ice at 7pm (ET) on Saturday and HNIC Game Day with PJ Stock and Andi Petrillo kicks off at 5pm (ET). On Sunday, Hockey Night in Canada features a special edition of Coach's Corner with Don and Ron, and a live performance from Drake during the second intermission.



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