Leon Draisaitl posted the best time, officially, in the Premiere Passer competition at Friday’s NHL Skills event. But unofficially, he came in second.
U.S. Women’s National Team captain, and Calgary Inferno forward, Brianna Decker actually beat Draisaitl’s time of 1:09 by three seconds when she demonstrated the challenge before the NHLers took part, posting an unofficial time of 1:06.
“(Erik) Karlsson went after me, so I was like, ‘OK, I think I might have beaten him,’ but I didn’t know how long it took me,” Decker saidaccording to The Hockey News. “I was just casually going through the demo. That passing was pretty tough. But I had no idea, actually.”
“She beat me?” Draisaitl said, when The Hockey News told him. “Wow. That is impressive. That’s really impressive. Good for her.”
Draisaitl will receive $25,000 for his win while Decker, who also has an Olympic gold medal, was set to get nothing.
Hockey fans on Twitter were not impressed by this fact and, throughout the day Saturday, began calling on the NHL to #PayDecker for her win in the competition. Even former Team Canada forward and Hockey Hall of Famer Jayna Hefford joined in.
Eventually, equipment maker CCM stepped up and pledged to pay Decker $25,000 for her performance.
Decker wasn’t the only female player who left a mark on the NHL Skills event. Her Team USA teammate Kendall Coyne Schofield, competed in the Fastest Skater race and posted a time of 14:346 seconds, less than a second behind winner Connor McDavid.
“I think our women’s game has come a long way,” Decker told The Hockey News. “Today was a great opportunity for us to have people be more aware of our talent. But we couldn’t be more thankful for the NHL to allow us to come out here and hang out with the guys and be able to be part of the event.”