Is Jeff Skinner the NHL's Answer to Justin Bieber?

Skinner Has Reached Bieber Status

RALEIGH -- They've got Skinner Fever in Canes Country, and it's comparable to the cult following teen pop sensation Justin Bieber has nationwide.

Carolina's All-Star rookie, Jeff Skinner, has become a rock star in Raleigh, so much so that he has teenage girls forcing their parents to buy tickets to Hurricanes games just so they can get an in-person look at the newest teen sensation in town.

"It has a Justin Bieber-type feel to it, but he's got a Justin Bieber-type look, too," Carolina captain Eric Staal told "It's exciting for him. He's probably going to get the loudest ovation on Sunday."

Raleigh moms like Lisa Musilek were seen Friday at the NHL Fan Fair toting around Skinner pictures for their daughters. Madison Musilek, 14, was waiting with her friends in a 90-minute line in hopes of getting Skinner's autograph and maybe even a handshake, a wink, a smile -- anything.

Just think of the story she could tell in school Monday.

"Oh my gosh, it's crazy," Lisa Musilek told "We definitely like hockey, but our interest in hockey has skyrocketed this year and our budget to buy tickets has, too. I see season tickets in our future."

But why Skinner? What is the fascination with the kid from Markham, Ont., who on Sunday at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover will become the youngest player in League history to play for an All-Star team?

Skinner is 18 years and 259 days old.

"He's adorable," Musilek said. "He's really good. And he's adorable."

Skinner, the kid who can pass for 15 but plays like he's 30, is doing his best not to let his fame go to his head.

"I can only appreciate it," he told "It's great. It's just a lot of fun. When you're 18 years old and you get to wake up everyday and go to the rink and play hockey, you're pretty fortunate. It's been a wild ride … pretty fun."


Let's Go Hurricanes!  And as a 23 year old self-respecting female Hurricanes fan, I find Jeff Skinner to be undeniably adorable.  I want to pinch his little cheeks.

ETA: Oh, and if you didn't know, he was in Death to Smoochy when he was 9 in case you want to see Lil' Jeff.