The first NHL All-Star game took place on October 13, 1947. Prior to this, there had been several benefit games between All-Star teams but there were never any official All-Star games until 1947.
The NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition was first held at the the 41st NHL All-Star Game in Pittsburgh in 1990. In order to showcase the skills of its participants, the players selected to All-Star teams compete in various skill-testing events. These include Accuracy Shooting, Fastest Skater, Skills Challenge Relay, Hardest Shot, Breakaway Challenge, and Elimination Shootout.
In accordance with the NHL CBA, the league does not hold All-Star games during Winter Olympic years. Because of this, there will be no All-Star game for the 2013-14 NHL season. The next All-Star game will be held in Columbus, Ohio on January 24-25 2015.
In honour of its absence this year, here’s a list of the Top 8 Hardest Shot Winners at the NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition.
Note: This is a top 8 list because since its inception in 1990, only 8 different players have won the Hardest Shot Competition, some of them on several different occasions.
8 Dave Manson - 1996 - 98.0 mph
Dave Manson is a one-time Hardest Shot winner and capturing the title in 1996. He was the 11th overall pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1985 and played for 7 NHL teams in a 16 year career. A defenseman, Manson finished his career in 2002 with 390 points and 2792 penalty minutes in 1103 career games. Manson was as a tough defenseman throughout his career and was no stranger to confrontation on the ice. During the ‘88-89 NHL season Manson spent 352 minutes in the penalty box, but managed to register 18 goals and 54 points. During an altercation with Sergio Momesso, Manson took a punch to the throat, permanently damaging his larynx and contributing to his low, raspy voice. Manson made a career salary of $12,643,830 between 1989 and 2002.$12,643,830$12,643,830
7 Al MacInnis - 1998 - 100.4 mph
Al MacInnis played Defence for the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues during his entire NHL career. He was taken with the 15th overall pick in 1981 by Calgary, where he would spend 11 full seasons before signing with the Blues in 1994. MacInnis was a 13-time All-Star and in 1999 won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the top defenceman in the league. He became the fourth defenceman in NHL history to score more than 100 points in a season. Known for having one of the hardest shots in the league, MacInnis once split goaltender Mike Liut’s mask. He used this insane power to win a record 7 Hardest Shot contests, the fastest coming in 1998. An eye injury suffered during the 2003-04 NHL season forced MacInnis to retire. He retired third all-time among defencemen in goals, assists and points and was named to seven post-season all-star teams. He was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 and his jersey number 2 was retired by the Blues. He collected just over $49 million in his NHL career.
6 Sergei Fedorov - 2002 - 101.5 mph
5 Fredrik Modin - 2001 - 102.1 mph
Fredrik Modin was taken by the Toronto Maple Leafs 64th overall in 1994. He played 14 seasons in the NHL, amassing almost $22.4 million in total salary, and won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2003-04 season. Modin has also played for the Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers and Calgary Flames. As a member of Sweden’s national Hockey team Modin has won two gold medals, as well as one silver and one bronze. To add to his list of accolades, he won his first and only Hardest Shot contest in 2001. Modin finished his career having played 898 games in the NHL, scoring 232 goals and 462 points.
4 T-4. Sheldon Souray - 2004 - 102.2 mph
Sheldon Souray was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1994 and is currently a member of the Anaheim Ducks, making $3.5 million this season. Drafted 71st overall, he spent three seasons in New Jersey before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens in 2000. Souray spent 6 seasons with Montreal during which time he scored 160 points and tied for first place in the 2004 Hardest Shot contest. He went on to play for the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars before signing with Anaheim on July 1st 2012. Souray holds the NHL record for the most single-season power-play goals by a defenseman with 19, and shares the Edmonton Oilers team record for fastest 2 goals ever scored in a regular season game (7 seconds) with Ales Hemsky.
3 T-4. Adrian Aucoin - 2004 - 102.2 mph
The other winner of the 2004 Hardest Shot contest, Adrian Aucoin was drafted 117th overall in 1992 by the Vancouver Canucks. He spent 19 years in the NHL playing for the Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets. As a member of team Canada he won a silver medal at the 1994 winter Olympics and a gold medal in 1993 as a member of Canada’s World Junior team. Aucoin was selected to one NHL All-Star Game in 2004 and won the Babe Pratt Trophy in 1999 which is awarded annually to the Vancouver Canucks’ best defenceman. He played in 1108 games during his NHL career, scoring 121 goals and 399 points and retired in 2013 with a career salary of $34.6 million.
2 Al Iafrate - 1993 - 105.2 mph
Al Iafrate was drafted 4th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1984. He spent 7 seasons in Toronto, then went on to play for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks. He was selected to four NHL All-Star Games and named to the NHL Second All-Star team for the 1992-93 season. Having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, sciatic nerve damage in his back, and a ruptured appendix, Iafrate struggled to get back on the ice, missing all of the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons. Playing in less than 70% of NHL games after his 28th birthday Iafrate retired at the age of 32. In his career Iafrate scored 152 goals and 311 assists totaling 463 points in 799 games. He won the Hardest Shot contest in 1993 with a shot speed that would remain a record for 16 years. His 9 years in the NHL saw him earn $6.8 million.
1 Zdeno Chara - 2012 - 108.8 mph
The NHL's undisputed slapshot champion, Zdeno Chara was selected 56th overall by the New York Islanders in 1995. Chara spent four years in New York before being traded to the Ottawa Senators in 2001 as part of a package deal. He played 4 seasons for Ottawa then signed with the Boston Bruins on July 1st 2006. Standing at 6 feet 9 inches and weighing in at 255 pounds, Chara is one of the leagues most fearsome defensemen. He played in 6 NHL All-Star Games, 3 as a captain. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2009 and 2004 and was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2006, 2008 and 2011. He remains undefeated in the last five NHL Hardest Shot competitions and established an all-time record in 2012. Chara won his first Stanley Cup championship with the Bruins in 2011 and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2009. He has so far played in 1055 games and scored 144 goals totaling 478 points.