Hextall on Hockey: NHL All-Star competition is a platform for the women’s game

Canada's Genevieve Lacasse (31) blocks a shot by United States' Kendall Coyne Schofield (26) during the third period of a rivalry series women's hockey game in Hartford, Conn., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Yes, yes and yes!

After U.S. Olympian Kendall Coyne Schofield created a viral moment in the fastest skater event at last year’s All-Star Skills Competition, the NHL has reportedly decided to up the ante with a best-on-best, three-on-three tournament to showcase and support the women’s game.

This, in turn, helps raise awareness of what the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) is trying to achieve.

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Nearly 200 of the best female players in the world boycotted playing hockey this season to promote the need for a sustainable model for professional women’s hockey.

The association with the NHL and its brand and media partners at the All-Star Game will provide a mainstream marquee for that message.

For those who may think the women being included in the All-Star festivities won’t move the dial on this initiative, consider this: besides the Olympics, this is the most visible platform for the women’s game. The All-Star competition is broadcast by national rights holders in NBC and Sportsnet. That’s a big step from the stream of the under-18 women’s gold-medal game between Canada and the U.S. just weeks ago.

READ MORE: Hextall on Hockey — Connected Jets

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The alignment of the women’s professional game with the NHL is exactly the goal of the PWHPA, which is working to follow the lead of the WNBA and create a WNHL for professional players to skate in and young girls to dream of.

The inclusion of women in the All-Star event is another step — test the waters, continue the conversation and keep opening doors of opportunity to showcase the game on every level.

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