January 22nd will be a big day for Gigi Marvin, Kali Flanagan, Annie Pankowski and Dani Cameranesi. The four women will take part in the 2020 ECHL All-Star classic in Wichita, Kansas. The event, which will air on NHL Network, promises to be an exciting opportunity for these four women.
The three-on-three tournament will feature four teams. Two of those teams will be made up of players from the host Wichita Thunder, while the other two teams will be drafted from the Eastern and Western Conference All-Stars. Each of the four PWHPA players will be assigned to one of the four All-Star Classic teams, according to the league.
In addition to playing in the three-on-three tournament, the ladies will also take part in the Kansas Star Casino/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition.
You don’t need me to tell you how important this is. We have seen women compete in the skills competition at the NHL All-Star Game, but never before have they had the chance to actually play in the game. The ECHL is giving them that chance, on National TV nonetheless.
There is some serious excitement from the players who will have a chance to compete in this event. They know it is a terrific opportunity for them, but also that it is a very important step in the fight for quality in hockey.
“I’m so excited to take part in the ECHL All-Star game and Skills events. I think it’s really a big deal to have women involved in these types of events and really shows the effort that they are putting in to help give us that visibility that we all want and deserve,” Kali Flanagan told me earlier this week. Flanagan won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics and has been a consistent part of the ‘Dream Gap Tour’.
“It’s definitely a really exciting opportunity. What Kendall did last year at the NHL All-Star event truly opened doors and began new conversations around the Women’s game,” Flanagan continued.
Kendall, of course, is Kendall Coyne Schofield. She competed in the fastest skater event and finished just one second behind winner Connor McDavid. The Northeastern graduate even got some bragging rights over Boston University’s Clayton Keller, who she defeated. Coyne Schofield’s performance caught the eyes of everyone watching. That’s the goal next week in Wichita.
“I think that next week will be an exciting opportunity to keep driving that conversation forward and to gain more momentum on that quest for more visibility.”
The three-on-three event is not just an exciting opportunity, but a perfect one for these women as well. Three-on-three hockey allows the speed and skill of the game to take over. These are some of the fastest, most skilled women in the world. They’ll be able to show off their talents and thrive against the ECHL’s best.
That’s an exciting proposition for all four players, one that Flanagan is really looking forward to. Sure, the entire event will be fun, but you can bet the players are most looking forward to the game itself.
“What I’m looking forward to the most next week at the All-Star event in Wichita is definitely being able to be apart of the All-Star game and Skills Event. Three-on-three hockey is so much fun and there’s so much ice out there, so I’m really excited to get out there and play against my three other teammates who are taking part in it and the ECHL players who are participating.”
The 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic takes place on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7:00 pm. Fans can watch the event live on NHL Network.