- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
The NHL announced its 2023 All-Star Game skills competitions Tuesday, including an event where players will try to drop their opponents into a dunk tank on the Fort Lauderdale beach.
The “Splash Shot” is one of seven events scheduled for the 2023 NHL All-Star skills, which will be held Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in Sunrise’s FLA Live Arena, home of the Florida Panthers. It will be carried on ESPN and ESPN+.
The league announced that women’s national team players will join in on the NHL All-Star festivities: Team USA’s Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight, as well as Team Canada’s Emily Clark, Rebecca Johnston and Sarah Nurse. Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Roberto Luongo, now an executive with the Panthers, will participate as a celebrity goaltender for the NHL Breakaway Challenge.
There are three new NHL All-Star skills competition events this season:
• Splash Shot: Taking place on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, there will be eight shooters, two on each divisional team. Players will compete head-to-head and are required to hit all targets before attempting to dunk their opponents.
• Pitch ‘n Puck: Using a combination of hockey and golf shots, six NHL All-Stars will play a par-4 course featuring an island green. Lowest score wins the competition. If there’s a tie for the fewest shots, the longest drive will determine the winner.
• Tendy Tandem: One goalie from each division will be designated the shooting goalie and one the in-net goalie. The shooting goalie from a division will take a shot from a designated mark at a net. Three points will be earned if the shot goes in the hole, two points if the shot hits the in-net target and no points if the shot misses the net. The in-net goalie from the opposing division will face 3, 2 or 1 player(s), depending on the points earned by the shooting goalie. A save earns the in-net goalie the points, based on the number of players faced. The goalie tandem with the most total points.
There are four other events returning to the competition.
• NHL Fastest Skater: A minimum of four players will skate a full lap around the ice. There will be two rounds. The preliminary round will determine which two players will participate in the final.
• NHL Hardest Shot: A minimum of four players will compete to see who can shoot the puck the hardest.
• NHL Breakaway Challenge: A minimum of four players and two goalies will compete in a “trick shot” competition, where a panel of judges will rate each shot on a 1-10 scale based on creativity. Props are allowed and encouraged.
• NHL Accuracy Shooting: Eight players and four passers work together to break four destructible Styrofoam targets attached to the goal posts, one target in each corner. The four players who hit all four targets in the fastest times move on to the final.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend at FLA Live Arena includes Friday’s skills competition and the NHL All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. on ABC and ESPN+. The All-Star Game will again be a four-team, 3-on-3 format.
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