Buffalo Sabres players will face off against one another in an All-Star style skills challenge on Sunday, January 6 at 12:30 p.m. at KeyBank Center, as previously announced. Tickets for the event are $10 and available for purchase here.
Fans can expect an array of skills on display, from flashy goals to impressive saves and much more. Players will also be wearing custom jerseys which will be auctioned off for charity.
The teams, which were announced this week, will participate in five different challenges.
Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark will captain their respective teams.
On Hutton’s team: Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Dahlin and Lawrence Pilut. That’s a lot of talent for one team and it’s sure to be entertaining. Kyle Okposo, Johan Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons, Tage Thompson and Scott Wilson round out the forwards. Zach Bogosian and Nathan Beaulieu are the other defenders.
On the opposite side: still plenty of talent. Ullmark’s team will feature captain Jack Eichel, offensive powerhouse Conor Sheary, and defensive talents in Brendan Guhle and Rasmus Ristolainen. Vladimir Sobotka, Jason Pominville, Evan Rodrigues and Remi Elie are also anticipated to be on Ullmark’s team. The defense will be rounded out with Marco Scandella, Casey Nelson and Matt Hunwick.
For years, many Sabres fans have been asking and hoping for the team to do an event like this. It’s a fun event for fans of all ages - and significantly more affordable for families or groups to attend, at $10 a ticket. There will also be free parking and discounted concessions.
In addition to the financial factor, it’s just a fun event and a way for players to showcase not only their skills, but also their personalities - a factor that is often shunned in hockey and in the sports world in general.
Fans in attendance will see players participate in a hardest shot contest, an accuracy showdown, a puck control relay, a power play challenge and a shootout challenge. (Why not add a fan vote for ‘best goal celebration?’ or something along those lines?)
Several other NHL teams have been offering skills challenges like this over the years. The Vancouver Canucks annually host their SuperSkills, which sees players divided into two teams and participating in similar skills competitions to the Sabres.
In addition to the on-ice events, fans at the Sabres Skills Challenge will have the opportunity to get autographs from select Sabres alumni including Dominik Hasek and Gilbert Perreault. The pre-event autograph session, which begins at 11 a.m., will see fans get a randomly-assigned ticket to one autograph table. Autographs are on a first-come, first-served basis with a 200-ticket limit per table.
Doors will open at 10:30 a.m.
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon after the Bills’ season will be over; the Beauts and Bandits are both off, and the event will raise money for the Sabres Foundation.