The SuperSkills name lived up to the hype as the rowdy group in the stands was treated to a new Canuck speedster, Jason Garrison blasting some 100MPH+ bombs and the all important pie-in-the-face gag.
The teams were selected by Daniel and Henrik Sedin who, surprise surprise, ended up on the same team. Team White, or Team World + French Guys minus Luongo, as they named themselves on the scoresheet, was coached by David Booth and were up against Team Blue, or Team Canada, who had Ryan Kesler behind the bench.
Team White jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the 3-3 Challenge as Chris Higgins scored twice in the final 20 seconds clinching the win in the mini-game between the blue-lines.
Team World + French Guys minus Luongo kept the momentum rolling taking the Team Puck Control Relay. Jannik Hansen took the anchor leg, breezing through the cones. That set up the One-on-One race between Jordan Schroeder and Zack Kassian with Schroeder edging the big-man by a stick’s length at the finish for the 3-0 lead.
Then Dale Weise took over in the Fastest Skater competition. Weise flew around the ice in 13.037 seconds, putting Team Blue on the board.
“I’m just really fast,” laughed Weise. “I have strong legs, so once I’m up to speed, there’s no catching me.”
Weise becomes the third different winner of the event in the past three years following Keith Ballard and Mason Raymond, who posted times of 14.52 (he slipped) and 14.13, respectively.
Jason Garrison, participating in his first SuperSkills competition, went into the Hardest Shot with some high expectations with people wanting to see that patented J-Garr bomb unleashed. “I’ve never even recorded my shot before so I’d never been so nervous before taking a slapshot,” admitted Garrison, who took that nervous energy and pounded it into his 101.8 MPH winning shot. Garrison also clocked another one in at 100.5 MPH, ahead of former winner Alex Edler (97.8 MPH).
Garrison faced some stiff competition, including Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Schneider, who hadn’t taken a slap shot since 1998, used Jannik Hansen’s stick and fired off a 76.4MPH slapper beating Luongo and his Chris Tanev twig.
The Canucks shooters were put to the test in the Shooting Accuracy with Maxim Lapierre winning it for Team White punching out all four targets on four shots in just 8.6 seconds, edging Mason Raymond’s perfect 4-4 by .2 seconds.
That win gave Team World + French Guys minus Luongo a 8-4 advantage which they would ride to victory through the Power Play and Breakaway Challenges for a 14-9 Team White win.
Joining the Canucks on the ice, and demonstrating some considerable skills themselves, were the Surrey Minor Peewee A1 Thunder. Joel Alexander, who hit all four targets in the Shooting Accuracy, was just one of several Thunder players putting the pressure on the professionals.
“Oh my goodness, that one kid had the two nicest moves in the shootout,” gushed Dale Weise. “I didn’t even want to go after that. He had moves that half the guys on our team couldn’t pull off.”
Jordan Schroeder had his week to remember capped off with Keith Ballard smearing a shaving cream pie into his face during a centre ice interview.
“It was a blast,” said Schneider, through a few inches of shaving cream. “You see how excited the kids and all the fans are for this day and that’s what it’s for.”
The Canucks for Kids Fund SuperSkills competition raised $228,292, which goes toward resources assisting charities which support children’s health and wellness, foster the development of grassroots hockey, and facilitate and encourage education in British Columbia.