Sunday’s second annual Kraken Super Skills Showcase will feature players’ wow-did-you-see-that talents plus lots of fun attractions and giveaways for fans, tickets still available — by Bob Condor
For fans wanting to get to know Kraken players better, one of the best opportunities is attending the team’s 2023 Super Skills Showcase benefitting One Roof Foundation. The second annual version of the lighthearted competition among teammates is Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena, starting at 2 p.m.
Tickets are still available for $15 each with net proceeds going to One Roof Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Kraken and the arena. There is a Family 4-Pack offer for $50 or $12.50 per ticket.
One reason why this outing already stands as a fan-favorite experience is because the players clearly enjoy the event. There were lots of smiles and laughs, players’ families and significant others are involved and the day is designed to be fun rather than the business-like manner on game days.
“It was so good to see everybody come out,” said Kraken center Morgan Geekie after last year’s inaugural Super Skills Showcase. “It was an extra special day, getting here maybe a half-hour before going to the ice, like we did as kids. I look forward to doing more of these showcases every year.”
There are five Showcase skills competitions that count in the official score between teams selected by goalie Chris Driedger and forward Joonas Donskoi, who have both been on long-term injured reserve this season but are wholly capable of captaining the festivities. Team Dredger and Team Donskoi will compete in five competitions – Shooting Accuracy, Relay Race, Hardest Shot, Breakaway Challenge and a 3-on-3 Game. Plus, every fan will have a chance to take home exciting prizes via giveaways and fan contests.
The Kraken broadcast crew will be on hand to report from between the benches and conduct player interviews projected on the arena’s twin video boards. A dedicated kids’ zone will offer face painting, poster making, ball hockey and word has it there will be a Buoy scavenger hunt. Another highlight: As pandemic restrictions have eased this season, there will a team selfie near the end of the event.
Captains Driedger and Donskoi have selected their teams. Team Driedger will include Will Borgen, Jordan Eberle, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Carson Soucy, Vince Dunn, Morgan Geekie, Martin Jones and Jared McCann. Team Donskoi features Adam Larsson, Cale Fleury, Ryan Donato, Matty Beniers, Brandon Tanev, Eeli Tolvanen, Alex Wennberg, Jamie Oleksiak, Philipp Grubauer and Daniel Sprong.
Here’s a “run of show” for the five skills competitions. After each competition, there will be player interviews with the winning team.
Accuracy Shooting Presented by Pitchbook
This event determines which Kraken player has the most accurate shot. Each shooter will attempt to hit all five targets in the net, four placed on corners and a fifth in the “five-hole” between a goalie’s leg pads. Whichever Kraken player is the fastest shooter to hit all five targets will be the winner.
Some details: Shooters are in the slot in front of the net. A teammate passes pucks and the shooter decides what sort of shot he wants to take. Each competitor keeps going until he has hit all five targets. Ex-Kraken forward Riley Sheahan won the competition last season.
Relay Race Presented by GEICO
This event challenges captains Donskoi and Driedger to select three team members each who will be high-level performers to speed through a variety of skating and stickhandling stations. The idea is to post the fastest composite time for the three relay-race participants.
Some details: Every leg of the relay beings in the same spot. Goalies Philipp Grubauer and Martin Jones will be passing pucks to their respective teammates as part of the relay course. Last year’s Team Driedger entry won the relay by one-tenth of a second over Team Grubauer.
Hardest Shot Presented by Toyota
This crowd-pleaser event is sure to generate oohs and aahs from the family-friendly crowd but no doubt a bit of trash talk among Kraken teammates. In this event, five players from each squad selected by the captains (probably some lobbying going on) will take up to five shots on net each turn through two rounds. Shots will be clocked and the Kraken skater with the fastest reported speed will be the 2023 champ will full bragging rights. A donation will be made to the winner’s charity of choice.
Some details: Players can start their shots from the zone blue line in. The puck will be placed in the high slot in front of the goal. Last year’s winner, Morgan Geekie, was the winner with 98 miles per hour, but there was plenty of buzz (including from the standup ex-captain Mark Giordano) about the accuracy of the radar gun. This Sunday, there will be special pucks to record the mph.
Breakaway Challenge Presented by Alaska Airlines
This is when EBUGs (emergency back-up goaltenders) get on the ice. They will face five players from each squad with each breakaway participant getting two chances to show his artistry and scoring punch. The team with the most overall goals wins the competition.
3-on-3 Presented by Symetra
The final event is an overtime-type setup of two four-minute periods. Whichever team scores the most goals wins the competition and likely is the difference-maker in the overall Skills Showcase. It should prove to be a fitting finale to the afternoon skates-and-stick showdown. Like all of the skills events, winning players will be interviewed over the public-address system for all fans to enjoy.
TICKET ALERT: Fans can still get $15 tickets here for the 2023 Seattle Kraken Super Skills Competition. There is Family 4-Pack offer for $50 or $12.50 each.
For more on the Super Skills Showcase, visit here.