Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition: Sights and Sounds

Posted by David Minuk in Columns,Winnipeg Jets on December 19, 2013 — 1 Comment

While we have already given you a breakdown of who won which event and which side was crowned the eventual champion, if you weren’t one of the 12,038 inside the MTS Centre, here are some pictures, videos and interviews from the party like atmosphere within the arena.

Unlike in 2011, this season the team added a new twist by removing the glass and giving the fans an opportunity to interact with the players.
Mark Stuart signs autographs

The evening was co-hosted by Dennis Beyak (TSN Jets) and Brian Munz (TSN 1290 Winnipeg).  Here is Dennis introducing the events to the boisterous crowd.
Dennis Beyak

The first event of the evening was the fastest skater.  The pre-contest favourite was easily Evander Kane.  In this shot Keaton Ellerby explains his strategy to Sarah Orlesky of TSN.
Keaton Ellerby

In the end Jets rookie Mark Scheifele demonstrated his speed posting an impressive 13.67 time.  Check out his speed in this video.

When Evander Kane blew a tire heading for the finish line the only guy who had a chance to catch Mark Scheifele’s time was the speedy Blake Wheeler but he fell just short.
Blake Wheeler

Next up was the accuracy competition and Eric Tangradi was first to try picking off the targets.
Eric Tangradi accuracy

The players were having tons of fun on the ice in-between and during events including interviewing each other.
Wheeler interviews Byfuglien

Despite a valiant attempt by Mark Scheifele to win back-to-back events, he wasn’t able to eclipse Bryan Little’s 4/5 shooting in 12 seconds.
Mark Scheiefle shooting accuracy

With the relay event next up it was clear that Team White was dominating the night.
Team White dominating

Players getting ready to go in the relay challenge.
Jets ready for relay

The players weaving in and out of the pylons.
Skills 5

We even had a bit of a role-reversal as rookie Jacob Trouba interviews Sarah Orlesky of TSN.
Jacob Trouba interviews Sarah Orlesky

Next up was everyone’s favourite competition the hardest shot.  While the clear favourite was 2011 winner Dustin Byfuglien, Chris Thorburn showed off his slapper which topped out at 96.3 mph.  He explained to me post game why he actually lost about 5 mph based on where he shot and felt this meant he probably topped out at 101.3.
Chris Thorburn hardest shot

Captain Ladd reacts when he sees that Keaton Ellerby just beat his 89.7 mph shot in the competition.
Andrew Ladd reacts to losing to Keaton Ellerby

But nobody expected Anthony Peluso to overtake Dustin Byfuglien as the Hardest Shot champ and that is exactly what he did blasting home a shot at 103.9 mph.

The players took every opportunity to engage the fans signing autographs and chatting.
Tangradi and Setoguchi chat with fans

But no surprise as to which Jets player was the biggest draw as Big Buff signs some memorabilia.Dustin Byfuglien signs autographs

The final event of the night was the breakaway challenge.  The guys got pretty inventive and while the moves didn’t always work some were pretty ingenious as Jacob Trouba demonstrates.
Jacob Trouba on breakaway

Best move goes to Evander Kane who started bouncing the puck off his stick from the blue line all the way to and then up and over goalie Al Montoya, much to the delight of the MTS Centre crowd.
Evander Kane breakaway

And then without letting it hit the ground after he put it over Montoya, he deftly put it into the net.
Skills Recap 17

After tabulating the score Brian and Dennis declare Team White the winners of the 2nd Annual Jets Skills Competition.
Brian Munz and Dennis Beyak declare winner

Team White nominated Mark Scheifele to accept the trophy on their behalf.
Mark Scheifele accepts the trophy

The entire team skates to centre ice to thank the 12,038 fans in attendance.
Skills Recap 19

Similar to recreational hockey, who doesn’t love to pose for a picture when you win a trophy, as Team White gathers for a shot.
Skills Recap 20

Just like an encore at a concert, the players returned to the ice bearing autographed hats.
Skills Recap 21

Tobias Enstrom tosses his autographed hat into the crowd.
Tobias Enstrom tosses his hat to the crowd

Eric O’Dell makes some already lucky fans day as he gives him a hat.  Notice the young fan is already clutching a hockey stick (although he may have brought that to be autographed).
Eric O'Dell gives away autographed hat

Here is some video of the Jets tossing hats into the crowd.

As the fans left the building the skeleton crew of media headed down to the Jets room for some post Skills Competition chat.  Hear from Chris Thorburn, Mark Scheifele and Grant Clitsome.

Chris Thorburn

Mark Scheifele

Grant Clitsome

  • Benjamin Kruger

    This is a wonderful thing to do for the fans to be able to enjoy some time with the players and see their skills at work. Especially with the Olympics this year, it will gives the fans an opportunity to see their favorite players working their magic. I wish every team would do this. A very classy thing for the Jets to do!