Late last night, Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported a new event at the NHL All-Star Weekend: a 3-on-3 tournament between the best American and Canadian players. According to Kaplan, all are National Team players.
The NHL All-Star Weekend is in St. Louis on Jan. 24 - 25.
In the past, the NHL has invited four National Team players to demonstrate at the skills competition. However, last year, Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to compete in the NHL Skills Competition when she filled in for an injured NHL player in the fastest skater competition. There was also a controversy when a fan video emerged showing Brianna Decker finishing the Premier Passing event faster than the rest of the men.
What will be interesting to see is how this event is worked into the schedule. The NHL All-Star Game is already 3-on-3 games where teams from each of the four divisions play in a single-elimination tournament. Will the women’s event be played alongside the men’s game? Or on a different day?
It also begs the questions: Will it be broadcast? Will the players present be paid? Will it be properly promoted? Will the women still be demonstrating at the skills competition?
All of it mostly boils down to how the NHL views the addition of women’s hockey at the All-Star Weekend - is this a gimmick to do the bare minimum or a meaningful step towards more concentrated support for women’s hockey?