Predators’ Weber triumphs with hardest shot in revived NHL skills competition


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Canada’s Olympic star Shea Weber blitzed the field in the hardest shot event Saturday as the National Hockey League’s all-star skills competition made a triumphant return after a two-year absence.

The 29-year-old Weber’s shot was clocked at 108.5 mph (175 kph) as he finished just a shade off the all-star record of 108.8 mph set by Zdeno Chara in 2012. Nashville Predators defenseman Weber, who missed the net on his first attempt, easily beat runner-up Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals who finished with a 101.4 mph blast. Weber helped lead Canada to a gold medal in the men’s ice hockey competition at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver games. Slovakia’s Chara was not named to the 2015 NHL all-star game so was unable to defend his title. The unofficial all-time record is held by Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull who took a slapshot that went 118.3 mph but that was measured back when the technology wasn’t as good. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos finished third at 98.8 while Chicago’s Brent Seabrook was fourth at 98.6. San Jose’s Brent Burns rounded out the top five at 97.3. The all-star game is making a comeback this season after a two-year hiatus. There was no event last season because of the Olympics and in 2013 it was canceled due to a labor dispute that resulted in a lockout shortened season.

Jonathan Drouin, who was selected third overall by Tampa Bay in the 2013 NHL draft, won the fastest skater competition by recording a time of 13.10.

Chicago’s Patrick Kane was the quickest to destroy the four targets in the accuracy challenge with a time of 13.52 seconds. The NHL all-star game takes place Sunday at Nationwide Arena, the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.