Photo Credit: Courtesy of NHL.com

Winnipeg Jets Host Annual Skills Competition

It was a fun time at Bell MTS Place last week as the Winnipeg Jets hosted their annual skills competition. This contest is very similar to the All-Star skills competition with various relays and other events. The Jets got divided into two teams and had some friendly competition as they tried to out-duel their teammates.

The first event was the fastest skater. It featured Ehlers, Roslovic, Lemieux, Appleton, and Mick E. Moose as they each took their turn racing once around the rink. It was Ehlers who finished first, which surprised nobody, as he came in with a time of 13.25 seconds. This time actually set the Jets record for fastest lap as Ehlers eclipsed his previous record of 13.29 which he set in 2016.

All three of Lemieux, Appleton, and Roslovic were within .13 seconds of each other as they finished with times of 13.56, 13.66, and 13.69 respectively. This first event is where the fun began as some of the players tried to douse Lemieux with a water bottle as he crossed the finish line.

The next event was the accuracy shooting competition where the Jets had to knock out four targets, one in each corner.

Mark Scheifele was the biggest disappointment in the challenge as he found it difficult to hit any of the targets. This is especially surprising considering these shots are coming from the exact location of where he normally sets up on the powerplay. Although the number one centre was expected to do well, it was the second line centre who actually took home the crown in this event. Little only needed five shots to knock out the four targets as he made the challenge look easy.

Laine also performed quite well in the challenge, as to be expected given his sniping prowess. Although picking corners is a fun little exercise, there were some people that figured the Jets need to set up some targets in the middle of the net considering their poor shooting as of late.

The next challenge was a relay event with a combination of stickhandling, passing, and a full length of the ice shot by Hellebuyck and Brossoit. The first round saw Hellebuyck nail the open net on his second opportunity and he was feeling good about his abilities. Moments later it was Brossoit who one-upped him with a snipe into the empty cage on the first shot he took.

The last main event was the hardest shot competition where the Jets defenders, sans Byfuglien, got their chance to see how hard they can shoot. While most people expected Myers or Chiarot to win the event, it was actually Trouba who emerged victorious with a 98MPH slapper. (This may have been due to the fact that the radar gun malfunctioned during Chiarot’s shots, Trouba likely sabotaged it.)

In the end, all of the defensemen had quality shots as Morrow clocked in at 97.1, Myers at 93.9, Morrissey at 93.3 and Kulikov at 91.9.

The last event was a breakaway challenge as the Jets got to showcase their moves against some younger goaltenders. The Jets brought in some local talent with two players from the Manitoba AAA Midget League.

All in all, this was a fun event where the personalities were showcased for the Jets. There were plenty of interviews and autographs and it appeared that everyone was having a great time during the evening.