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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.
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

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.

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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.

Hayley Wickenheiser inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
Hayley Wickenheiser inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame