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PWHPA All-Star day preview

PWHPA players will compete in a skills competition and 3-on-3 tournament at their all-star weekend in Ottawa.

After Friday and Saturday’s games in Ottawa, the PWHPA will host its first-ever All-Star game and skills competition.

The skills competition will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature 23 players across four events: fastest skater, accuracy shooting, save streak, and the skills challenge. The competitors for each event were chosen by their peers.

Fastest Skater

Blayre Turnbull, Claire Thompson, Emily Clark, Sophia Shaver, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Victoria Bach, Renata Fast

Players in this competition will attempt to skate the fastest lap possible. The six competitors range in age from 24 to 30, but all 6 are forwards. Coyne Schofield is the favourite in the competition, known for her lightning speed – she did call her book As Fast as Her, after all.

The 5’2” forward uses quick short strides to accelerate faster than most. Her crossovers, both in turns and while accelerating in a straight line, are powerful and precise. She’s my pick for the fastest skater.

Following her Saturday afternoon game, Hilary Knight said she figured Coyne Schofield would win it. “The OG,” she called her.

Accuracy shooting

Hilary Knight, Hayley Scamurra, Abby Roque, Sarah Nurse, Brianne Jenner, Alex Carpenter

Shooters in this event will try to hit targets with both precision and speed. All six competitors are bona fide Olympic superstars, with legendary veterans and next-generation stars going head to head. I think this event could be a close shootout between Sarah Nurse and Hilary Knight. Knight is the all-time leading world championship goal scorer with 53 goals and 89 total points. Sarah Nurse led the 2022 Olympics in points with 18. It’s a tough pick, but I’m going with Nurse to show off her sharpshooting skills and take this one by a hair.

Save streak

Nicole Hensley, Ann-Renée Desbiens, Emerance Maschmeyer, Maddie Rooney

Goalies will face a streak of penalty shooters, and the goalie to keep the longest streak of saves will win the competition. Hensley and Desbiens are tied as the top goalies in the PWHPA. Both have a .930 with 5 games played this year.

Desbiens and Hensley have made some spectacular penalty shot saves over their careers, but this Hensley save on Poulin three weeks ago is the flashiest that comes to mind. With moves like this, Hensley is going to keep a lot of pucks out of the net.

Skills Challenge

Marie-Philip Poulin, Hannah Brandt, Jessie Eldridge, Sarah Potomak, Jamie Lee Rattray, Ella Shelton

This event will challenge competitors with multiple skill tests in succession. Speed, finesse, and accuracy will all play a part in winning. All six competitors are talented players with accurate passing and smooth hands. Sarah Potomak has been particularly impressive this year, threatening opposition goalies with quick moves in tight. But it’s hard to put support behind anyone but the most talented player in the PWHPA, Marie-Philip Poulin.

All-Star Game(s)

Four all-star teams will play six 10-minute 3-on-3 games in a round-robin style. The final game will be a championship between the two leading teams. The four team captains were selected by fan vote. The captains then drafted their teams from a pool of 40 players — here are all four rosters below.

Team Keller

Megan Keller, Rebecca Johnston, Jill Saulnier, Renata Fast, Mélodie Daoust, Alex Carpenter, Micah Zandee-Hart, Aerin Frankel, Maddie Rooney, Rebecca Leslie, Sarah Potomak

Team Nurse

Jessie Eldridge, Kelly Pannek, Jamie Bourbonnais, Jincy Dunne, Sarah Nurse, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Erica Howe, Emerance Maschmeyer, Blayre Turnbull, Claire Thompson, Victoria Bach

Team Poulin

Lee Stecklein, Alexa Vasko, Sophia Shaver, Savannah Harmon, Hayley Scamurra, Ella Shelton, Brianne Jenner, Hannah Brandt, Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Renée Desbiens, Kristen Campbell

Team Knight

Jocelyne Larocque, Laura Stacey, Abby Roque, Meaghan Mikkelson, Hilary Knight, Erin Ambrose, Emily Clark, Nicole Hensley, Geneviève Lacasse, Kristen O’Neill, Jamie-Lee Rattray