The "Ace's Got Skills" program, supported by the National Hockey League (NHL) and operated by RDW Marketing & Media, LLC (RDW), held its National Championships at the Walter A. Brown Arena Memorial Skating Pavilion in Boston June 27-29. Ten players representing the Blue Jackets took part in the event staged in honor and memory of the late Garnet "Ace" Bailey, former director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings.
In its fourth year, the competition is modeled after the NHL All-Star Weekend's SuperSkills events, which showcase the top talents in the NHL on a premier and unique stage.
Over 120 players representing 14 states competed in the event, which was attended by NHL representatives and Alumni.
Eight of those competitors hail from the Columbus area, and none was more impressive than the performance of 13-year-old Julian Ebner, a forward for the Columbus Blue Jackets AAA organization. At 5-5, 125 pounds, Ebner showed great versatility, competing in five different Top Skills events. For the second consecutive year, Ebner showed he had the biggest "boom" by winning the Hardest Shot competition with an astounding 79 miles per hour blast. The honor was Ebner's second straight Hardest Shot national title.
Athens native Guy Philips was also a repeat champion, and the second of two national champions representing the Blue Jackets. Philips proved again that he had the best wheels in the competition, winning the Fastest Skater event by a slim margin of 0.21 seconds and claiming his second straight national title in the event.
On top of the tremendous achievements in the specific events, Ebner was crowned one of two Sports Illustrated Kids Top Skills Champions for his all-around performance at the 2008 Got Skills Competition.
The Blue Jackets congratulate Julian and Guy on their outstanding work in the Got Skills events, and thank all Blue Jackets participants for representing the organization so well.