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NHL Exec Details Skills Competition Plans, Including Scrapped Plan Involving Shooting Pucks Off The Strat

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

By now you’ve probably seen the plans for the unique, Vegas-centric NHL All-Star events set on the Strip. The two additional skills competitions will take place outdoors, on a locked-down Las Vegas Boulevard, and will singlehandedly blow away every other All-Star event in history. Steve Mayer, the NHL’s Chief Content Officer joined 32 Thoughts yesterday to break down the events and why Las Vegas is the perfect location to have such a grand event.

We’re going to have two events outside the arena. What we’re doing is creating a rink, what will look like a rink, on the fountain. The faceoff circles, the goal, the middle faceoff circle will be hard surfaces on which the skill will be performed. Imagine that the water of the Bellagio fountain is the ice. So when you look from high above you’re going to think we built a rink in the Bellagio fountains. We’re using the fountain as an element to the game. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

When the NHL asked for bright lights, glamor, and innovative entertainment, event planners knew there was only one location. Some ingenuity and a little elbow grease, the City of Las Vegas will make it happen.

We’re going to shut the Strip down. We’re going to take the Strip over and we’re going to do an event which accuracy shooting meets Black Jack. We’re going to roll it out on to the Strip. The players are going to shoot, every time they hit a card that’s their Black Jack hand. Closest to 21 wins. Another really cool big personality event. I think there’s going to be a lot of strategy, a lot of talking a lot of going after each other. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

When the league staked claim in Las Vegas five years ago it was clear they were here for several reasons. The NHL’s suits correctly forecasted their product would not only survive but thrive in Southern Nevada. The Golden Knights have been a contender since their first season and the fan experience is better than all 31 other cities. So yeah, the NHL believed hockey would achieve success in Las Vegas. Also, it is a great place to throw league parties.

It’s because of Vegas. Vegas is the best place that you can do something that’s unique and different. We wanted to combine Vegas and combine hockey and it’s going to be flashy. We do think we have a couple of nice wrinkles that will absolutely stand out and be extremely memorable. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

While planning for a major event like All-Star weekend takes months of work, Mayer said it was a pleasure working with the city and county officials to help make it a one-of-a-kind event showcasing Las Vegas.

Thankfully, the city and county officials were all on board with most of the ideas the NHL pitched them.

There’s a lot of parties that weigh in. You need a unanimous vote to move things forward. The folks in Vegas have been incredible to work with. This is an out of the box idea. It’s not been easy to get the permitting. From an operational standpoint, those that are involved, especially the Clark County side, they they need every inch of how you are going to do it, how tall things are, how small things are, where are the barricades, I could go on and on. There are so many people that you need to sign off on. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

The NHL’s CCO admitted there was one idea that didn’t fly.

When we were looking at places to do these outdoor events I wanted to shoot pucks off the Stratosphere. That’s way too dangerous. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Not only will the NHL’s best players be in Las Vegas this weekend so will some of the gridiron’s greatest. The NFL’s Pro Bowl will be held blocks away at Allegiant Stadium.

According to the NHL, they’ve integrated some of football’s best into a couple of their skills competition. Also, the league has worked out ways to stagger their events with the NFL’s so fans could consume both without missing any of the action.

We’ve always talked about NFL players participating in some of our events and certainly being in the building. There are a couple of opportunities that you’ll see where an NFL player will be a part of what we’re doing. We’ve been working with the NFL for about six months. Most importantly, we’ve been coordinating for a fan in Vegas the opportunity to never miss anything. From a scheduling and timeline situation we worked together so that we were never coming up with an event that would take place at the same time. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Mayer laid down the details for most of the weekend but held back a few secrets. He did note that several players and their representatives had been campaigning to participate in the Bellagio fountain challenge.

It’s hard to imagine a skills competition on the Strip without a Golden Knights player.

Breakaway challenge we’re going to be doing. That was an event that we did for many years. Vegas was the perfect place to bring it back. We’re in the process of going to the players that are going to participate in that, we want to hear from the players. Vegas is a cool place to do that. Talking to players about their potential roles we’re getting a lot of players coming back or team management coming back to us going ‘Hey, my guy really wants to do that fountain thing.’ I think that’s really cool. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

From fine production, to creative events, there was no expense spared. And it will all begin with a star-studded opening number.

We’re going to be doing a big opening in Las Vegas. DJ Zedd is going to be on the ice and perform. There’s going to be skating Elvis’, and Rat Pack folks, and Showgirls. The open will be something that people will remember. We’re going to have a few NFL players, celebrities, a lot of Vegas celebrities. –Mayer on 32 Thoughts Podcast

Overall the league is really excited to share and show off some new unique events and their host city. It’s one of the reasons why the Golden Knights are an NHL franchise. Las Vegas is a turnkey location for big, elaborate events like the NHL All-Star Weekend and the NFL Pro Bowl. Both leagues can rely on the city to comfortably supply venues, resources and places for fans to eat, drink, gamble and party. Or whatever tourists do.

As for us locals, we get to enjoy all of this excitement and then take a $17 (plus tip) Lyft home and call it a night.




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  1. Jason is any of this being televised by local stations, ESPN or the NHL channel?

  2. THE hockey GOD

    i cannot wait for this, let me know if anyone needs food i got you

  3. Gary

    Would be nice if you plugged and supported the cab industry as well . Especially with it being all-star weekend Uber and Lyft are most assuredly gonna surcharge rates on the strip.

    • Cabs gouged for years; long hauling and monopoly rates. That allowed competitors to challenge their monopolies. Cabs reaped what they sowed.

  4. Tim

    Only in Vegas baby. I think not to get the rest of the hockey world jealous is not who we are but Fuckum all. They can’t stand our success, they can’t stand our packed house every night, they can’t stand the between period entertainment, voted best arena experience, now were going to put on the greatest all-star weekend of all time and guess what they can’t stand that. Let’s throw in the city with the greatest entertainment, most 5 Star restaurants, great weather what’s not to like. I’ll bet 80% of wives / girlfriends are telling there hubby figure out a way to get traded to Vegas. You wonder why getting any free agent we want is a done deal. But honey I can get a million more per year from Buffalo fuck the money.

  5. Stephanie

    Yeah but what does this mean for us who have purchased tickets to the Skills competition?!?!? Are we paying decent money to watch the skills competition on the Jumbo trim inside TMobile?!?!?

  6. Rashaad

    Will be great weekend. Any truth to rumor that Vegas will be holding a trailer park convention in the near future?

    • knights fan in minny

      no just a white man racist convention were coming for you alex rashy the fraud loser

  7. Galdom

    One thing I couldn’t understand lately in our discussions regarding Golden Knights goaltending was the question as to why I had to keep mentioning Marc Andre Fleury. It’s relevant to mention MAF when the narrative is that we kept the wrong goalie. And as he continues to fall apart I will probably keep mentioning it. Fleury played like garbage yet again tonight. He was pulled. Two goals were on clear shots where he was not screened and another one was a horrible turnover after he mishandled the puck himself. That brought back a miserable memory. The man is 37 1/2 years old and will likely retire. He’s going to be going to the Hall of Fame and deservedly so. In his up-and-down career (more ups) he could relish the chance to get traded to a contender for one more playoff run but I’m not sure that teams are going to consider him as the better option at this point in time over what they already have. This articulate, forward thinking front office made the right decision as they do most of the time.

    One of my favourite all-time quotes from an old hockey analyst Harry Neale was that “If a general manager starts thinking like the fans they will eventually be fired and sitting with the fans in the stands.”

    • 1234

      He got pulled because the team left him completely out to dry. I’m sick and tired of people like you who are jealous of greatness. His stats on a horrible team are still better than your savior, Robin Lehner. Put him on a good team again and he will be a candidate for the Vezina.

      • Galdom

        Watch the highlights. He’s fucking garbage.

      • Galdom

        Marc-André Fleury has won one Vezina trophy in his entire career. That was last year and it was well deserved. Other than that he never finished in the top five. So let’s not call him an automatic Vezina candidate when you put him on a good team. He’s basically been on very good teams his entire career with the exception of this year

  8. Galdom

    I said once before that this organization does a very good job of moving players out at the right time. James Neal is a perfect example. If they would’ve resigned him that would’ve been a disaster. I’m a big Ryan Reaves guy, love what he brought to the team and yet again they moved on from him at the right time. I’ve watched him a little bit with the Rangers and it is nearly unwatchable. Father time gets us all and he is approaching his mid 30s and he is slooow. The list goes on and on. Colin Miller, Erik Haula and Cody Eakin all moved on at the right time. David Perron could be the exception. They seem to make the right decisions about 80% of the time. They made the right choice by moving on from a 37 1/2 year-old goalie as well. I don’t know what they’re gonna do with the roster when I got comes back but I’m pretty confident in their track record of making the right decisions.

  9. Galdom

    *when Eichel comes back not when I got comes back. LOL

  10. Galdom

    There are mysteries in life that are unexplainable and that I will never understand. The love affair with Marc Andre Fleury is one of them. That he makes the big saves at the right time myth is one of them. Maybe it can be forgiven that Knights fans didn’t see the 4 year span in Pittsburgh where he may have been one of the worst playoff goalies the NHL has ever seen. But game seven against San Jose in year two was here for all of us to see. How about one single goddamn big save on that five minute power play where San Jose scored four goals. The sharks went on to the semifinals. Vegas was better than San Jose. Fleury got outplayed by the horrible Martin Jones when it mattered and didn’t make the big save when it mattered at the most crucial time. I wonder how long and sweet of a playoff run we were denied that season because of that. Hmmmmm…

    • I’m not trying to be disrespectful and I agree with some of your past post on different topics. I have been reading comments on here for years and this is my 1st time posting.

      You might be new to Vegas but the love for Fleury began in 2017 when he helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals! That was a magical year in Vegas and many of us are thankful and a respectful of all our former misfits. Fleury also pledge $100,000 to Covid-19 relief to the VGK staff even before the team pledge any money when the arena was shutdown. He is not a perfect individual but we don’t require our sports hero’s to be perfect. I cheer for all former and current Knights like many on this website do. Also, I have been a season ticket holder since 2018.

  11. Galdom

    I will stop criticizing Fleury. It appears as I have struck a chord with some here. and I respect that. But when the narrative is that they kept the wrong goalie that’s why Fleury enters the conversation when I defend Lehner. All I ask is that Lehner is treated fairly and respectfully and I will do the same in regards to Marc-André Fleury.

    • Tim

      Galdom, your beating a dead horse the facts are yes we had San Jose down 3-1 and lost big part do to Fleury, year three Dallas just beat us in 5 not Fleury’s problem, year 4 Montreal Fleury big fuckup to let that goal in game 4. Now the flip side Fleury was a big part of the reason we’ve made it to the playoffs each year and always past the first round. Now heres the biggie you have to understand and that is No team in any sport has ever made it to the finals in there first year of existence except one and that’s the Vegas Golden Knights and Fleury was a big part of that and if for no other reason he will always be the Man. On the 20th anniversary of the 2017 Misfit team when they call out the name Marc Andre Fleury the crowd will go wild. Not to many people in any sport get that kind of respect.

      • Galdom

        Yeah you’re right I am beating a dead horse. And yes everything you said is true. They don’t go to the finals without him. And they would’ve gotten past San Jose if he didn’t play so bad in year 2. He was the face of the franchise and will probably work for the team as an ambassador after he retires. And I have nothing against any of that. I just feel that it is a detriment to let her and he gets treated unfairly. And again life isn’t always fair. So I am done beating that dead horse.

  12. Galdom

    And I’m not here to agitate. That’s not my goal.

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