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Sharks Skills Showcase: Ferraro Steals Show

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This article was penned by San Jose Hockey Now Podcast co-host Nick Flohr.

The San Jose Sharks held their first-ever Skills Showcase as an open-to-the-public event to help showcase some of what Sharks fans could see in the upcoming season.

There were five different challenges for the Sharks players to compete in as they were divided into two separate teams, Team White and Team Teal. The challenges were as follows, Accuracy Challenge, Relay Challenge, Breakaway Challenge, Goalie Challenge, and Hardest Shot Challenge.

Accuracy Challenge

Per the San Jose Sharks, “Three players from Team Teal and three players from Team White take turns hitting four targets on the net in the least amount of time in the Accuracy Challenge. Whoever gets the most targets down in the least amount of time wins.”

The winner of the Accuracy Challenge was Alexander Barabanov of Team White, knocking down all 4 targets in just 9.345 seconds — I’m sure the Sharks hope that accuracy can carry over into the regular season.

Here were results for all the Accuracy Challenge competitors:

Tomas Hertl: 11.261 seconds
Kevin Labanc: 16.419
William Eklund: 12.175
Alexander Barabanov: 9.345

Relay Challenge

Per the Sharks, “Four players from Team Teal and four players from Team White go head-to-head through a series of stickhandling and hockey drills. Whichever team finishes fastest wins.”

Team White was Nick Bonino, Matt Nieto, Radim Simek, and James Reimer. Team Teal was Andrew Cogliano, Rudolfs Balcers, Erik Karlsson, and Adin Hill.

The winner of the Relay Challenge went to Team White with a finish time of 36.819 seconds to Team Teal’s 37.085. This was partly due to Reimer scoring the “Martin Brodeur” goal in just a single try.

Goalie Challenge

Per the Sharks, “Adin Hill and James Reimer compete against each other, seeing who can make the most shots into the net from different locations on the ice. The goalie with the most pucks scored wins.”

The win went to James Reimer and Team White as he barely edged out the victory against presumed opening night starter Adin Hill.

Breakaway Challenge

Per the Sharks, “Four players from Team Teal and four players from Team White will attempt their best trick shot (two attempts max). A panel of judges will rate each goal and the top average score wins.”

This was by far the most entertaining of the challenges: William Eklund of Team White tried beating the goaltender with an extravagant spin-o-rama goal but got stuffed.

But it was Mario Ferraro and his impersonation of Mike Ricci that stole the show and the win away from Team White with two highly entertaining and very Ferraro-esque goals.

It’s another wig for the Sharks, as Nikolai Knyzhov had to wear one in his post-game interview after his first NHL goal last season. It’s safe to say Ferraro is taking his “Wolf Pack” mentality to all-new heights and Sharks fans love it.

Hardest Shot Challenge

Per the Sharks, “A skills competition classic. Three players from Team Teal and three players from Team White take turns shooting a puck as hard as they can into the net. Each shooter has two attempts and the player with the fastest shot wins.”

Another win for Team Teal came from the hands of, who else, Mario Ferraro.

Mario had a clocked speed of 101.1 mph, beating out teammate Timo Meier who clocked 100.8 mph. That shot from Ferraro also beats out Brent Burns’s shot from the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills challenge, where he clocked a 100.6 mph slapshot.

It’s safe to say all those acai bowls with Ozzy Wiesblatt seem to be paying off for the young blueliner.

Here were results for all the Hardest Shot competitors:

Kevin Labanc: 91.2 mph (fastest of two attempts)
Mario Ferraro: 101.1 mph
Tomas Hertl: 98.6 mph
Jake Middleton: 98.1 mph
Timo Meier: 100.8 mph
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: 92.7 mph

That concluded the San Jose Sharks Skills Showcase:

It was chock full of fun and entertainment for the fans and I can see the Sharks making this a permanent addition to cap their preseason in the future. Next stop: The home opener on Oct. 16.

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