Saturday afternoon was the annual Canucks for Kids Fund SuperSkills event at Rogers Arena, which gave the Canucks a chance to get loose and relax for a little while before heading out on the road on Monday. As always, it was a great event for families and kids, who got a chance to see their hockey heroes up close and personal, without the stress of winning a hockey game clouding their interactions.
If you missed the event, but have an hour and 48 minutes to spare, you can watch the entire thing on YouTube right now. Here are the highlights and best moments to look out for.
The biggest surprise was the absence of David Booth, who was listed on Fort Nucks as participating in the fastest skater, power play, and breakaway relay events. This led to a slew of jokes about Booth being a healthy scratch, but I’m honestly curious about the real reason. It could be anything from an impending trade, to a minor injury, or a family emergency. There’s little reason, however, to speculate at this point, so we’ll wait to see if anything more comes out.
The biggest news may have come from the hardest shot competition. It wasn’t news that Jason Garrison won, but he set a franchise record in the process, managing to blast his second shot 105.1 miles per hour. That beat what I believe was the previous record set by Alex Edler of 103 mph.
Garrison’s blast comes close to Zdeno Chara’s previous NHL record of 105.9 mph. One problem: Chara broke his own record in 2012 with a 108.8 mph slap shot. I’m not sure Garrison can come close to that.
While Yannick Weber was expected to be Garrison’s biggest competition, he couldn’t manage to break the 100 mph barrier, topping out at 97 mph.
One of the breakout stars of the SuperSkills event came from the youth team that got the chance to participate on the ice, the Penticton Vees. The awesomely named Simon Snyman brought more than just his excellent moniker with him, winning both the fastest skater and hardest shot events among the kids.
@passittobulis More like Simon Signhim, am I right??
— Zack Mazerolle (@dogbullets) January 11, 2014
Like last year, the goaltenders participated in the hardest shot contest, with hilarious results, as both Eddie Lack and Joacim Eriksson wiped out on their first attempts and Lack spilled again on his second. Surprisingly, Eriksson wasn’t terrible, managing an 84.9 mph slap shot. Last year, Roberto Luongo hit 67.8 mph, while Cory Schneider’s best was 75.3 mph, so Eriksson easily outdid them both.
Another surprise for me was the fastest skater event, though the surprise didn’t come from the winner, Dale “The Flying Dutchman” Weise. Instead, it was the runner-up, Darren Archibald, that caught me off-guard. The most positive thing I’ve heard of his skating ability is that he skates well “for his size.” I had no idea he had that much straight-ahead speed.
Speed in a skills competition and speed in a game are two different things, of course, but it’s nice to have a couple fourth liners with wheels.
Weise, for the record, repeated his line from last year when asked about the secret to his speed: “I don’t know if there’s a secret, I’m just really fast.” You sure are, Dale. No one could ever describe you as slow.
One of my favourite moments came in the accuracy contest, when Zack Kassian, with a GoPro camera on the end of his stick, didn’t hit a single target. Clearly the weight of the camera threw him off, but he was all smiles anyway. This event clearly brought out the big kid in Kassian, which was a lot of fun to see.
That GoPro camera did come in handy for selfies, at least:
By the time the Power Play event rolled around the entire team was feeling a little goofy, particularly Eddie Lack and Kevin Bieksa. At one point, Lack lost his stick, so Bieksa handed over his own, then snagged Lack’s goalie stick and defended with that massive piece of lumber. It was pretty effective, actually, as he and Lack prevented Henrik, Kassian, and Santorelli from scoring again.
The best move of the event, however, came when Lack snagged the puck and, instead of putting it back in play, stuck it in his water bottle holder on top of the net. Sneaky, Lack, sneaky.
Also, Lack and Garrison got together earlier in the afternoon for…well, I don’t know what this is:
The breakaway relay is always a fun finish to the night, but it was also a demonstration of the Canucks’ shootout struggles, as barely any of the shooters actually put the puck in the back of the net, even with Lack and Eriksson goofing off the entire time.
Two of the players who did score? The Sedins, of course. While they seem to always try to deke the goaltender right out of the net so they can slide the puck slowly along the ice into the net, both actually roofed the puck on one of their attempts in the breakaway relay. They are capable of shooting the puck, you guys.
Jason Garrison and Darren Archibald also impressed. Garrison faked the big slap shot, likely scaring the bejeezus out of Eddie Lack, before slipping a quick wrist shot in, while Archibald completely undressed Lack with his attempt, impressing with his soft hands.
Meanwhile, Kevin Bieksa put the puck inside of his glove and tried to throw the glove into the net, because of course he did. Throwing gloves is his thing.
The real breakout star of the event, however, was Ryker Kesler, who joined his dad for his attempt. The elder Kesler left the puck behind at the top of the crease and Ryker came in to finish the job, with Lack helpless to stop his quick release.
That may just be the most adorable thing in the universe. Let me check again.
Yeah, that’s as adorable as things in this universe can get.
Many stick-taps to the following Tumblr and Twitter accounts for all the great gifs: