New NHL All-Star Event Will Have Players Shooting Pucks From Stands
The NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis later this month will include a new event that will see players "shooting pucks from the stands, over the fans and at targets on the ice," according to sources cited by Greg Wyshynski of ESPN.com. During the Jan. 24 skills competition, eight players "will stand in a section of Enterprise Center above the lower bowl of seats" and shoot at "circular targets positioned on the ice below." The targets will have "different point values, based on the difficulty of the shot attempt," creating a Topgolf-like game. A big inspiration for the event is a '19 video of Penguins Cs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin "launching pucks from Section 220 of their empty arena into an open net on the ice." Wyshynski notes the NHL is taking "unique safety precautions," since fans will be sitting below the spots where the pucks will be shot from. The protective netting behind the goals "will be 'reconfigured' and stretched above those sections to cover them" (ESPN.com, 1/14).
BIG STEP FORWARD: THE ATHLETIC's Hailey Salvian noted the addition of a women's 3-on-3 event to the All-Star Game skills competition is significant "not only because it marks the most prominent display of female talent ever at the event, but also because of the current climate in the women's game." All participants will be from the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, and it is not expected that players from the NWHL "will be involved." Sources said that the women's game will feature "two teams ranging in size from 10 to 12 players," though it is not known if it will be in a Team USA-Team Canada format. This marks the "third straight year" that female players will be "involved in All-Star Weekend" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/13).