Stick taps to the ECHL, which made a major announcement concerning their upcoming All-Star Game on Friday. The league, known as the “AA” development league for the NHL, announced that members of the PWHPA will participate in the upcoming All-Star Classic. The event will take place on Wednesday, January 22nd in Wichita, Kansas. The event is held by the Wichita Thunder, the ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.
Kali Flanagan, Gigi Marvin, Annie Pankowski and Dani Cameranesi will be the four PWHPA members to take part in the event. Per the ECHL, each player will be assigned to one of the four All-Star Classic teams playing in the event. All four will also participate in the ECHL All-Star Skills Competition, which accompanies the game.
“The Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic is an opportunity for our League to celebrate our player’s skill and development, but also to highlight hockey everywhere for our fans to enjoy,” ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin said in a statement. “Having players from the PWHPA/U.S. Women’s gold medal team is another great element to an already exciting couple of days of festivities in Wichita.”
The PWHPA’s Operations Consultant , Jayna Hefford, also expressed excitement at this announcement. “We truly appreciate the support of the ECHL. By having the women of the PWHPA compete in the ECHL All-Star Classic, the league is supporting the future of women’s professional hockey,” she said in the league’s official release.
Women participated in last year’s NHL Skills Competition in San Jose during All-Star weekend. They are expected to compete again in St. Louis next month, although no official announcement has been made on the matter by the league.
Sources indicate that an announcement on that and NHL alumni participating in St. Louis could come in the next few weeks.
A number of PWHPA players kick off the 2019-20 ‘Rivalry Series’ later tonight in Hartford, CT at the XL Center.
A Step Forward
I thought the NHL did a good job incorporating female players at last year’s skills competition, but I also felt it could have been executed better. Credit to the ECHL for taking that involvement a step further and allowing the players to participate in the game as well. This is a big deal, and will allow these women’s to showcase their ability on the same stage as the men. That absolutely matters.
The event will also be on TV, as NHL Network has made a habit of airing both the ECHL and AHL All-Star games in recent years. That allows increased exposure, which can only help both the ECHL and the PWHPA.
This should be a winning arrangement for all parties involved.