The NHL All-Star Game skills competition will feature an interesting twist this season. According to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski, the skills competition will have an event in which players will shoot pucks from the stands at targets placed on the ice.
Eight participants will shoot pucks from a section in the upper bowl towards circular targets that will be on the ice below. Each target will have different point values and will depend on how easy the targets are to hit. Participants will also receive more points if they completely shatter a target rather than just clipping the side.
Wyshynski also reports that a source says "it's hockey meets Topgolf." Topgolf is a popular driving range game in which players hit microchipped golf balls onto greens below to score points.
Of course, safety is the league's primary concern for an event such as this. In order to protect the fans, protective netting will be "reconfigured," and stretched beyond its usual sections. It's going to be the lone event during the skills competition in which there will be protective netting above spectators.
It's certainly a different event than anything fans have seen before, but there was some inspiration from an NHL franchise. In 2019, the Pittsburgh Penguins shared a video in which Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were shooting pucks from an upper-level section of PPG Paints Arena.
Crosby and Malkin had a lot of fun shooting at two different-sized nets in a competition that Malkin won by a 5-3 score. Of course, no fans were in the arena for this competition, but that will be a very different story next weekend.
The NHL All-Star Game skills competition is set to take place on Friday, January 24 at the Enterprise Center, which is the home of the Blues.