Many of the best female hockey players will gather for the NHL's All-Star Weekend later this month, as they have for the past couple of years. But this time, women will play. The league is expected to announce later this week that it will host a three-on-three scrimmage, possibly between US and Canadian national team members, ESPN reports. As many as 24 female players will be on the rosters, per AP. All-Star Weekend is Jan. 24-25 in St. Louis. The league's effort to promote women's hockey has been building slowly. The NHL has invited a few players the past couple of years who demonstrated drills for the skills competition. Last year, Kendall Coyne Schofield competed in the fastest skater competition with seven men and finished seventh. She was a hit with the crowd and online fans who saw the video. "When she took off, I was like, 'Wow,'" the winner said. "I thought she won the event."
Coyne Schofield later said, "I knew it was a moment that was going to break a lot of barriers and a moment that would change the perception of our game." Women's hockey in North America is in flux since the six-team Canadian Women's Hockey League folded last March after 12 seasons. That leaves only the five-team National Women's Hockey League, which has five teams and is based in the US. It receives a bit of financial support from the NHL. The NHL commissioner has said he'd consider having his league operate a women's league if there were no other existing options, per CBS. Emily Kaplan points out on ESPN that the three-on-three lets the NHL avoid having women and men compete with each other, which can be awkward. Brianna Decker did so well in the passing competition last year that fans called for her to be given the $25,000 prize, saying the video seemed to show her time was the best. The league disagreed and gave the money to one of the men. CCM, maker of hockey equipment, stepped up and presented Decker with $25,000.
(Read more women's hockey