Edmonton Oilers defenceman Brett Kulak has fired pucks with plenty of power at times this hockey season, but the potency of his shot was certified at the team’s skills competition on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old blueliner from Stony Plain, Alta., beat out the competition to earn the hardest shot title when his slapshot sent the puck sailing at the net with a speed of 97.7 miles per hour.
The sold-out event at Rogers Place saw Oilers fans watch their team’s players take part in a number of different skills events.
Longtime Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finished first in the shot accuracy category. He used his shot to hit four targets placed at each corner of the net in just 9.31 seconds. Oilers captain Connor McDavid accomplished the same feat in 9.81 seconds.
Some Oilers fans may have been surprised by the speed displayed by rookie defenceman Markus Niemelainen.
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The 24-year-old Finn, known more for his physical play than his skating, won the fastest skater contest, completing two laps of the ice rink in just 26.67 seconds.
McDavid, who is widely considered one of the fastest players in the National Hockey League, did not take part in that event.
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The evening also saw Oilers players take part in a skills challenge relay and some of the players’ dogs even got involved, taking part in the “ruff-ruff relay” event.
The Oilers said net proceeds from tickets sold for the skills competition will benefit the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and the NHLPA Goals and Dreams Fund.
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The Oilers’ next game is in Seattle on Friday night when the team takes on the Kraken.