These past two years have been a perfect storm for St. Louis. The Cardinals are back in World Series contention. The MLS and XFL are coming to the city. Five players from St. Louis were selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL draft. But most importantly, the Blues won the Stanley Cup. St. Louis has proved that we’re not just a baseball town in the middle of the country.
Most recently, the All-Star game has come to St.Louis. Fans from all across the country came down to the Enterprise Center for the fan fair. Several artists performed live, and Blues legend Al McKinnis proved he can still hit a 100 mph slapshot. In addition, there was a five-hour long line to see the Stanley Cup.
Things got off to a hot start on January 24 with the skills competition. There were 6 different contests. The first one was the fastest skater event. For the past three years, Connor McDavid from the Edmonton Oilers has been the fastest man on the ice. However this year, Matthew Barzal from the New York Islanders beat him out by four-tenths of a second.
Up next was the save streak contest. The goal is to save as many goals as possible in a row on a breakaway. The Blues’ Jordan Binnington won the event with 10 saves over Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. Carolina’s Jacob Slavin took home the accuracy shooting trophy in 9.505 seconds. Canada beat the US in the elite women’s three on three. Montreal’s Shea Weber won the hardest shot event with 106.4 miles per hour. Although he wasn’t an official participant, Blues Hall of Famer Al McKinnis was still able to hit a 100 mph slap shot at the age of 57. Finally, the Blackhawk’s Patrick Kane beat out Mitch Marner of Toronto in overtime for the shooting star event.
The next day, the real All-Star game kicked off at 7:00 pm central time. For the past three years, the NHL has used a three on three tournament format between the four divisions. Each game consists of two 10-minute halves. The first game was the Metropolitan vs. the Atlantic division. The Atlantic pulled away in the end to win 9-5. Next up was Central vs Pacific. Although they kept it close at first, the Central just couldn’t shoot enough pucks into the net. The Pacific division moved on to the finals with a score of 10-5, and then there were two.
The final was a battle of the two oceans for supremacy on the ice. The Atlantic was up 3-1 at the end of the first. All they had to do now was hold the lead. But eventually the Pacific caught up, with the San José Sharks very own Tomas Hertl coming in clutch with the game-winning goal.
All of this past weekend’s festivities put a positive spotlight on our city. Even though St.Louis is considered by some to be the most dangerous metropolitan area in America, our sports teams bring us closer together as human beings. Overall, the NHL All-Star game was a complete success for all involved.