They Have A League Of Their Own

Women’s hockey players shouldn’t just be in the spotlight when they participate in men’s hockey events.

By Elisha Gunaratnam

Sarah Nurse, Hilary Knight, Rebecca Johnston, Alex Carpenter, and Emily Clark all had a chance to shine during the NHL’s All-Star festivities last weekend. In fact, the cheers at FLA Live Arena were the loudest when Nurse used a breakaway move (“a Forsberg”) made popular by Swedish player Peter Forsberg to score on New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin during the skills competition.

The moment was reminiscent of when Kendall Coyne Schofield beat out several NHL players in the Fastest Skater Competition during the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend.

Sarah Nurse stole the show during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition (AP Photos/Marta Lavandier)

After competing in the Tendy Tandem Event and seeing her national team teammate electrify the crowd, Emily Clark spoke about how special it was to be a part of the event: “The best part of being a part of All-Star Weekend is the kind of visibility it gives our sport,” Clark said. “We’re having a lot of fun, but we’re super glad we’re able to represent women’s hockey and to be on the same ice as some of the best men in the world.”

However, these players don’t just play hockey at the Olympics or IIHF World Championships or NHL All-Star weekends. Nurse, Knight, Johnston, Carpenter, Clark, and Coyne Schofield all play on teams in the PWHPA. The PWHPA currently has four teams (Harvey’s, Adidas, Scotiabank, and Sonnet), and the four teams all compete with one another on competition weekends throughout the season.

Currently, Team Harvey’s is in first place in league standings, with Canadian phenom Marie-Philip Poulin leading the team in scoring, while Team Adidas and Team Scotiabank are battling it out for second and third. Anyone who has watched any Olympic hockey will likely recognize many of the players who compete in the league, as this year’s rosters include 43 Olympians and more than 75 players with national-level experience.

There are still at least three more weekends of competition in the PWHPA season, and the league’s next series of games are being played in Peterborough, Niagara, Barrie, and Kitchener on February 10 and 11. Fans can catch the action on CBC Sports.

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