Brianna Decker to get her NHL skills challenge prize money after all

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
U.S. national team member Brianna Decker will be paid $25,000 after winning the premier passing drill at the NHL All-Star skills event on Friday after initially being told her run didn’t count. (Matt Cohen/Getty Images)
U.S. national team member Brianna Decker will be paid $25,000 after winning the premier passing drill at the NHL All-Star skills event on Friday after initially being told her run didn’t count. (Matt Cohen/Getty Images)

Brianna Decker dominated the premier passing drill at the NHL All-Star skills event on Friday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

The U.S. women’s national hockey team member recorded a time of just 66 seconds, beating out the eight NHL players in the competition — including winner Leon Draisaitl, who finished three seconds slower than Decker.

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The winner of each event in the competition earned a $25,000 prize. That prize went to Draisaitl, however, as the NHL said Decker’s didn’t count. The official clock wasn’t started for her run, either.

Even Draisaitl gave Decker credit for beating him after the event.

“She beat me. Wow,” the Oilers forward told ESPN. “That is impressive. That’s really impressive. Good for her.”

Outrage quickly surfaced among fans and on social media after Decker didn’t receive the prize, and the hashtag “#PayDecker” was born.

Less than 24 hours later, hockey manufacturing company CCM decided to pay Decker itself, announcing via Twitter that it would give Decker the $25,000.


Decker currently plays for the Calgary Inferno in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. The 27-year-old won the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2012 while at Wisconsin, an award given to the nation’s top collegiate player.

An NHL spokesperson declined to comment to ESPN about the matter.

Decker wasn’t the only woman to compete in the skills challenges on Friday night. Fellow national team member Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to do so while competing in the fastest skater competition. She posted a time of 14.346 seconds, good enough for seventh.

“Obviously, I was a little nervous,” Coyne Schofield told ESPN. “But I knew it was a moment that was going to break a lot of barriers and a moment that would change the perception of our game.”

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