When Martin Frk was selected as one of three representatives for the Ontario Reign at this year’s AHL All-Star Classic, you knew it was only a matter of time before he was selected to participate in the hardest shot competition.
Even since Frk’s days in junior hockey, his heavy shot has been one of the cornerstones of his game. And players have long been gritting their teeth and trying not to instinctively jump out of the way of a Frk shot. But up until now, he hadn’t had the chance to test it out in an officially measured capacity.
Frk was the final competitor in Sunday’s hardest shot event. After seven players, Bakersfield Condors defenseman Evan Bouchard led with a shot that hit 103 miles per hour. Bouchard, at the time, was the only person to top the 100 miles per hour mark.
Enter: Martin Frk.
Frk’s first attempt clocked in at 104 miles per hour — good enough to take over the lead for the event. An even 104 miles per hour would have put him fourth all time in the history of the hardest shot competition.
THAT PUCK HAD A FAMILY, MARTIN FRK— Jewels from the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) January 27, 2020
But could he do better?
You know how this story ends:
109.2 miles per hour catapulted Frk to the top of the all-time standings in the AHL — which also include three other former Kings prospects (Colin Miller, 105.5 mph, 2015 — previously the hardest shot on record; Brayden McNabb — from his Sabres days — hit 102.6 mph in 2014 and 101.8 mph in 2013.)
It also beat the current NHL record, held by Zdeno Chara, who recorded a 108.8 mile per hour shot in the 2012 All-Star Skills Competition.
Frk’s teammates weren’t surprised by the new record.
“I called it,” Kale Clague said after the event. “I knew it was going to be over 105. I’m not surprised at all. He’s great.”
Goaltender Cal Petersen agreed. “I knew he had it. I was just hoping his stick held up for him. That’s something I see every single day in practice, so I’m glad that he’s getting the recognition that he deserves.”
And lest you think Frk’s slapshot is all he’s got, Petersen reminded everyone that that’s not the case. “Frky can get this kind of a shot off from anywhere. It doesn’t even need to be a full slapshot like he showed today. He has probably a 100 mile an hour half-clap and his wrist shot is probably high 80s, too. He’s kind of the whole package when it comes to a lethal shot and he’s definitely making me better by having to face him every day.”
For his part, Frk knew as soon as he leaned into the shot that he had something special. “I think when I was skating into it, I kind of get a little bit more speed. And then I was just trying to focus, like, don’t go high. [...] I felt like pretty good about it and then the number popped and I was like, oh, wow.”
After the event, some of Frk’s teammates celebrated the achievement on social media...
But Reign captain Brett Sutter shared the best, most honest assessment of Frk’s shot:
I soaked one right between the nipples this year, I thought I had a heart attack. Not one bit surprised by this!.. Marty has a canon!!— Brett Sutter (@sutter_brett) January 27, 2020
The AHL All-Star Classic continues on Monday with the 3-on-3 tournament. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time and will air on the NHL Network in the US and TSN in Canada. The game will also stream for free on the AHL’s streaming service.