Twenty of the top players in the American Hockey League are prepared to face players from Farjestad BK in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition this evening in the first of two All-Star events.
The AHL All-Star Skills Competition is typically made up of seven events, in which players from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference face each other in a number of different events designed to test different on-ice skills.
Things will be a little different this year.
Instead of two AHL All-Star teams, there’s just one, comprised of 21 of the best players in the league. They’ll face players from Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League, who have flown into North America to compete against some of the best players in the American Hockey League.
Farjestad will also head to Toronto for an exhibition matchup against the Marlies on Saturday.
Two Buffalo Sabres prospects will be participating in the events: defenseman Brayden McNabb and forward Luke Adam.
The first event in the skills competition is typically the puck control relay. Current Rochester Americans forward Kevin Porter took part in the first heat last year.
After that, it’s fastest skater, won last year by Portland’s Chris Summers. Porter also participated in that event.
Then it’s the rapid fire contest, which sees two players from each team take five shots each on a goaltender from the opposing team, with six heats (of two players each) overall.
Hardest shot is the fourth event. Brayden McNabb will participate in the event again this year and looks to defend his title, capturing it last year at 101.8 miles per hour.
The final three events are accuracy shooting, pass and score, and the breakaway relay.
In addition to Porter and McNabb, current Rochester Americans forward Jamie Tardif also took part in last year’s event – as a member of the Providence Bruins.
Adam and McNabb are both participating in their second AHL All-Star Classics. Adam was a member of the 2011 AHL All-Star team while a member of the Portland Pirates. McNabb was named to the team as a rookie in 2011-12, but was on recall with the Sabres, so last year’s event was the first he actually played in. (So yes, do the math: this is his third straight season being named to the AHL All-Star team.)
This year’s All-Star events are especially great for Adam, whose hometown is the host city, St. John’s.
Tonight’s AHL All-Star Skills Competition will be broadcast internationally across the United States and Canada. It’ll be on a number of channels, but most importantly for those living in the WNY area, the skills competition will be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Check back tomorrow for a breakdown of the rosters and preview for the game itself.