Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition: Sights and Sounds
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next up was the accuracy competition and Eric Tangradi was first to try picking off the targets.
The players were having tons of fun on the ice in-between and during events including interviewing each other.
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.
With the relay event next up it was clear that Team White was dominating the night.
Players getting ready to go in the relay challenge.
The players weaving in and out of the pylons.
We even had a bit of a role-reversal as rookie Jacob Trouba interviews Sarah Orlesky of TSN.
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.
Captain Ladd reacts when he sees that Keaton Ellerby just beat his 89.7 mph shot in the competition.
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.
But no surprise as to which Jets player was the biggest draw as Big Buff signs some memorabilia.
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.
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.
And then without letting it hit the ground after he put it over Montoya, he deftly put it into the net.
After tabulating the score Brian and Dennis declare Team White the winners of the 2nd Annual Jets Skills Competition.
Team White nominated Mark Scheifele to accept the trophy on their behalf.
The entire team skates to centre ice to thank the 12,038 fans in attendance.
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.
Just like an encore at a concert, the players returned to the ice bearing autographed hats.
Tobias Enstrom tosses his autographed hat into 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).
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.