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Skills Competition

NHL Fastest Skater: 3 Memorable Moments

We look back at the three most memorable moments from the NHL's Fastest Skater Competition

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

It's the most simple of contests, mimicked on schoolyards across the country on a daily basis. Except now it's set on a larger stage during NHL All-Star Weekend: The race to see who's fastest.

In the NHL, by far the fastest of the major four North American professional sports, these races reach blinding speed at the NHL's Skills Competition.

When this contest was established, the format was that players skate the full 552-foot perimeter of the ice surface, fastest time wins.

In modern times, players go 1-on-1, simultaneously racing around a perimeter about half the size of a full lap around the rink.

The winner of the 1-on-1 then does a subsequent full lap, where they attempt to break the contest's all-time record, currently held by Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings.

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Under every format that contest has ever been held, here are our top three moments.

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1. Below The 13-Second Threshold


What's interesting about the Fastest Skater competition is that four of the past five winners haven't even been All-Stars.

In many recent Skills Competition, the NHL has invited the league's top young stars to compete in their own showcase during All-Star Weekend, although they've been allowed to join the regular All-Stars in the Skills Competition.

The catch is that last winter, Dylan Larkin interrupted the Young Stars' dominance by setting the record for the fastest time in the competition's 27-year history.

But as a true NHL All-Star at age 19, he was actually younger than the previous four Young Stars winners of this contest, and the youngest player to ever win this contest.

At 12.894 seconds, Larkin is the only skater to ever finish with a time below 13 seconds.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

2. Open Mike Night


In the 1980s and 1990s, Mike Gartner had a certain reputation: He was one of the league's most explosive goal scorers, with his 708 career tallies still seventh most in league history.

The other part of Gartner's reputation was that he was one of those athletes that just could never win the big one, never even appearing in the Stanley Cup Final in his 19-year, Hall of Fame career.

The time when Gartner was able to best demonstrate his ability with the spotlight on was during the Skills Competition, where he won two of the first four fastest skater contests.

His 1996 entry of 13.386 seconds was the fastest ever recorded at the time.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

Gartner's record lasted 16 years before being broken by Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers.

 

3. Russian Across The Line

 

Sergei Fedorov was '90s cool.

With his streaming blonde hair and sparkling white Nike skates (See Video Below), Fedorov was both one of the most talented and popular players in the league with the Detroit Red Wings.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

Although it was before he adopted his white Nikes, Fedorov's dual wins in 1992 and 1994 are our third most memorable moments, as they'd springboard #91 to becoming the first Russian NHL league MVP in 1994.


All-Time Fastest Skater Winners

1992: Sergei Fedorov/Detroit Red Wings (14.363 seconds)
1993: Mike Gartner/New York Rangers (13.510 seconds)
1994: Sergei Fedorov/Detroit Red Wings (13.525 seconds)
1996: Mike Gartner/Toronto Maple Leafs (13.386 seconds)
1997: Peter Bondra/Washington Capitals (13.610 seconds)
1998: Scott Niedermayer/New Jersey Devils (13.560 seconds) 
1999: Peter Bondra/Washington Capitals (14.640 seconds)
2000: Sami Kapanen/Carolina Hurricanes (13.649 seconds)
2001: Bill Guerin/Boston Bruins (13.690 seconds)
2002: Sami Kapanen/Carolina Hurricanes (14.039 seconds)
2003: Marian Gaborik/Minnesota Wild (14.713 seconds)
2004: Scott Niedermayer/New Jersey Devils (13.783 seconds)
2007: Andy McDonald/Anaheim Ducks (14.03 seconds)
2008: Shawn Horcoff/Edmonton Oilers (14.395 seconds)
2009: Andrew Cogliano/Edmonton Oilers (14.31 seconds)
2011: Michael Grabner/New York Islanders (14.238 seconds)
2012: Carl Hagelin/New York Rangers (13.218 seconds)
2015: Jonathan Drouin/Tampa Bay Lightning (13.103 seconds)
2016: Dylan Larkin/Detroit Red Wings (12.894 seconds)

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