By Carter Brooks
Photos by James Carey Lauder
In early January, fans of the Winnipeg Jets had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with their favourite NHL stars, as the team held its annual Skills Competition from Bell MTS Place for the viewing pleasure of its local fans.
Five events filled the evening, as members of the Winnipeg Jets were divided into two different teams, in competition for the annual trophy. Players from each team were selected to participate in skill-specific events, while fans looked on and took in some free autographed team merchandise throughout the night.
Nikolaj Ehlers put up the quickest time in the fastest skater event, racing around the rink in just 13.25 seconds, picking up some points for Team White. Teammate Brendan Lemieux came in second, just a quarter of a second behind Ehlers.
Jacob Trouba of Team Blue won the hardest shot competition, registering a shot that was clocked at 98 miles-per-hour. Ben Chiarot very well may have beaten Trouba, but due to a time clock malfunction, one of Chiarot's shots did not count. His best was clocked at 97.9 miles-per-hour.
Bryan Little hit four targets in the accuracy shooting challenge in just over 11 seconds, taking points away from Team Blue's Tyler Myers, who also hit four targets, but did so in 13 seconds.
Team White continued its solid performance, collecting the fastest time through the obstacle course that was the skills relay. Included in the relay was saucer passes into small nets, a skating challenge around pylons, stick-handling through evenly placed pucks, and goaltenders shooting pucks down the ice at the open net. Laurent Brossoit, Ben Chiarot, Brandon Tanev and Sami Niku's team came away with a victory in less than a minute in their heat.
The breakaway challenge was an opportunity for each player to come in alone on a Midget AAA goaltender and try out their best move. Mark Scheifele had one of the more creative baseball-style attempts, while four players from each team found the twine. In all, Team White beat up on Team Blue throughout the entire competition, taking the 2019 Skills Competition by a final score of 41-15.