Women’s national team players representing the United States and Canada will compete in a 3-on-3 event at the NHL All-Star game in St. Louis in two weeks, a person with direct knowledge of the plan said Monday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the NHL isn’t scheduled to make an announcement until later this week. ESPN.com first reported the development Sunday night.
It’s unclear when the scrimmage will be held during the weekend of festivities. The All-Star game, featuring a series of 3-on-3 games, is Jan. 25, a day after the skills competition.
The addition of a women’s 3-on-3 game is seen as the latest step in the league’s bid to promote women’s hockey.
Last year, four women were invited to take part in All-Star weekend events in San Jose, California. American forward Kendall Coyne Schofield became the first woman to participate in the skills competition. She replaced injured Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon and finished seventh of eight in the fastest-skater competition.
In December 2015, teams representing the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the U.S.-based National Women’s Hockey League played an exhibition game leading to the 2016 Winter Classic in Boston.
The 3-on-3 scrimmage will feature some of the world’s highest-profile players. The event comes at a time the women’s game is in flux after the six-team CWHL folded last spring, leaving only the five-team NWHL.
The CWHL’s demise eventually led to more than 200 of the world’s top players announcing they wouldn’t play professionally this season in North America, including the NWHL. They also formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association to push for establishing a single league with a sustainable economic model.
The PWHPA has since launched a series of barnstorming tours around North America, its most recent stop in Toronto last weekend. The NWHL is in the middle of its fifth season, with teams made up of patchwork rosters.
A large majority – if not all – of the players taking part in the NHL All-Star scrimmage will be PWHPA members.