NHL overhauls All-Star skills competition; 12 players to compete for $1 million prize

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The NHL has unveiled a new format for their All-Star skills competition, in advance of the 2024 All-Star Weekend set to be held in Toronto on Feb. 1-3, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday.

Twelve All-Stars will compete in the skills competition. They will each perform in four of their first six events and look to accumulate as many points as possible, determined by where they finish in each event. The first six events include competitions that will decide the fastest skater, hardest shot, and best stick-handler.

Participants will also partake in passing, accuracy shooting and one-timer challenges.

The best eight skaters based on points will move on to the seventh event, a shootout contest where each participant will choose which goalie they want to shoot on. The six best point-getters will then move on to the eighth and final event: an obstacle course where point totals will be doubled.

The skater with the most points will be named the winner of the competition and will be given a $1 million U.S. cash prize. The league says additional details on how participants will be decided “will be announced when available”.

The biggest differences

Traditionally, the NHL All-Star skills portion has allowed each competition to stand alone and emphasize the winner of each event. In theory, each event could still have a winner. But the goal will be for each participant to get as many points as possible in each event so they don’t get eliminated. The skills competition has been criticized in the past for not having players try hard enough in some of the events.

A points system and cash incentive could help combat that.

FinishPoints for first seven events

1st

5

2nd

4

3rd

3

4th

2

5th

1

6th

Point totals will be doubled in the final event, the obstacle course challenge.

Two notable omissions from the events list are the breakaway challenge — the NHL’s attempt at trying to match the NBA’s slam dunk contest which saw All-Star players try to score goals in creative ways — and a goalie-focused event. Last year, All-Star goalies were paired with each other in an event called “Tendy Tandem” which sees one goalie try to shoot the puck into a small hole in the net from the opposite end of the ice.

The more points they earned off the shot, the more shooters their opposing goalie tandem would see in an ensuing penalty shot. Before that, there was the much simpler save streak event where goalies tried to make the most consecutive saves in a shootout-style event.

Some of the more Florida-focused events from last year’s competition, the splash shot and pitch ‘n’ puck, also missed the cut. It is much easier to have outdoor events in warmer cities compared to Toronto in the winter.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

NHL All-Star Weekend 2024 expanding to 3-day event

The skills competition will be among a handful of events during the All-Star Weekend in Toronto. The Professional Women’s Hockey League will hold a three-on-three event during the festivities in addition to the NHL All-Star Game which will be held on Feb. 3.

(Photo: Peter Joneleit / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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