Women's hockey is about to get some serious shine at the NHL All-Star Game. According to a report from ESPN, this year's mid-season NHL showcase will include a three-on-three game featuring some of the best women's hockey players in the world. And it will have an international spin to boot.
The All-Star festivities in St. Louis later this month will reportedly have a women's USA vs. Canada three-on-three scrimmage, which should be a great opportunity for some of North America's best players (and women's hockey's greatest rivalry) to get some love on a big stage. While women's players have been invited to participate in the All-Star festivities over the past few years, this will mark the first time that the NHL has given the women their own event at the All-Star Game.
Last year, four women players were invited to take part in the All-Star festivities -- including Kendall Coyne Schofield, who became the first woman to compete in the NHL Skills Competition. Schofield impressed in the Fastest Skater event and held her own while competing with some of the NHL's speediest players, finishing seventh in the field of eight competitors.
The addition of the event comes as women's players continue to battle for equitable support and exposure. After the Canadian Women's Hockey League folded last year, more than 200 players formed the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association and announced that they would be boycotting playing in North America until a single league received equitable and sustainable support. As of right now, the five-team National Women's Hockey League is the only pro women's league in North America.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has previously said he would be interested in establishing a women's league under the NHL umbrella, but only if there are no existing North American alternatives. Bettman is hesitant to step in the way of the NWHL's operations, even if they're not seen as highly sustainable. The NHL currently provides modest financial support to the NWHL.
Most of the players who will compete in the women's event at the All-Star Game will reportedly be PWHPA members. The NHL is expected to announce further details on the event later this week. All-Star weekend will run from January 24-25th at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.