What's buzzing:

The Eh Game

NHL players hit the ping pong table to raise awareness for concussion research

Dustin Pollack
Eh Game

View gallery


Dominic Moore takes on Zenon Konopka at Smashfest (Photo courtesy of the NHLPA)

It's a Thursday evening in mid-July and rather than teeing off or finishing up a round of golf, a handful of former and current NHL players gathered at the Steam Whistle Brewery in downtown Toronto to compete in a sport that's become a part of the NHL dressing room fabric: ping pong.

Hosted by Dominic Moore of the San Jose Sharks along with the NHLPA, the inaugural Smashfest tournament gave hockey fans the opportunity to team up with some of the biggest NHL superstars from past and present including Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Eric Lindros to help raise money for concussion research.

"I love ping pong and it's kind of [a way to] give the fans the opportunity to see the locker room culture that they would never otherwise know about," he said.

View gallery


Participating players (Photo courtesy of the NHLPA)

Moore says his inspiration to do this type of event came from the fact that every NHL dressing room has a ping-pong table and teammates are always lining up to get the first game before or after practice.

However, though every team may have a table, doesn't mean every player has high-level talent. Steven Stamkos, the 2012 Maurice Richard Trophy winner and runner-up for the Hart Trophy says that his skills with a ping pong paddle aren't quite the same as  what they are with a hockey stick.

[Related: Tips to improve your game from a table tennis Olympian]

"[My game is] not very good at all, I'm usually the guy body checking the ping-pong players, trying to screw their games up," Stamkos said

"I'd probably [rate my ping pong game] a four out of 10. I can rally the ball, but anytime there's spin on it I'm done."

Stamkos' teammate Lecavalier admits his ping pong skills aren't much better, citing his backhand as the best and only real facet to his game. He felt the crowd would also play a factor into who could come out on top as playing in front of hundreds of fans is a much different than playing in the confines of the dressing room.

View gallery


Dominic Moore (Photo courtesy of the NHLPA)

"We play quite a bit in Tampa, but [there's] a lot of pressure [here] so it's a bit of a different ball game," Lecavalier said.

Lecavalier was just one of many who picked Dominic Moore as the favourite to win the tournament — he has an experienced background in tennis — but former Lightning forward Ryan Shannon ended up upsetting Moore in the finals and walking away as the champion.

But, while the event was all about letting fans see a different side of their favourite players, it's all for a cause that's going to help raise awareness for a hot-button issue within the league with all proceeds going to the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto and the Matthew Gfeller Center at the University of North Carolina.

"[Events like this] are very important," Stamkos said. "Unfortunately there's been some instances over the past couple of seasons to some marquee players obviously Sid [Crosby] being the main one and it's affected him and other players in the league. When Mooresy asked us to be a part of this of this it was a no-brainer, no PUN intended."

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Higuain adds even more spice to Juve-Napoli rivalry

      Higuain adds even more spice to Juve-Napoli rivalry

      Gonzalo Higuain will face former club Napoli for the first time on Saturday since his acrimonious departure for Juventus, adding even more spice to the fierce rivalry between the two sides. The brooding Argentine scored a record 36 league goals for … More »

      Reuters - 3 minutes 50 seconds ago
    • FA launches inquiry into violence at West Ham

      FA launches inquiry into violence at West Ham

      England's Football Association has announced an inquiry into the violence that marred Wednesday night's League Cup tie between West Ham United and Chelsea at London Stadium. There was also violence outside the stadium, the centrepiece of the 2012 … More »

      Reuters - 5 minutes ago
    • Canadian weightlifter could get silver after London gold medallists stripped

      Canadian weightlifter could get silver after London gold medallists stripped

      Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard appears to be in line for a medal updgrade after three athletes from Kazakhstan were stripped of their golds from the 2012 London Olympics due to failed retests of their doping samples. The Kazakh lifters were … More »

      The Canadian Press - 6 minutes ago
    • New players matter as Schalke recovers from miserable start

      New players matter as Schalke recovers from miserable start

      Schalke has gone from a historically cold start to one of the hottest teams in the Bundesliga in a matter of a few weeks. The season could not have gotten off worse for Schalke, which lost its first five league games - a club record nobody wanted. … More »

      AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
    • Michael Phelps, Nicole Johnson secretly married in June

      Michael Phelps, Nicole Johnson secretly married in June

      Michael Phelps can add getting married to his long list of accomplishments this year. The Arizona Republic reports the 31-year-old Olympic swimming champion secretly married longtime girlfriend Nicole Johnson on June 13, a little more than a month … More »

      AP - Sports - 14 minutes ago