NHL All-Star Game: Women players steal the show at skills competition

At the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, women hockey players proved they deserve far more respect than they get by impressing at the skills competition.

The 2019 NHL All-Star Game will one day be viewed as a historic one. Connor McDavid won the fastest skater competition for the third straight time, becoming the first player in history to win the event more than twice. But more importantly, for the first time in the history of the All-Star Game, women hockey players got a chance to shine against the best men in the world. And they more than held their own.

First, Team USA forward Kendall Coyne Schofield, who plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League, finished the fastest skater competition with a time of 14.346 seconds. While she didn’t win the event, she finished with a faster time than Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller. The day this isn’t seen as an insult, as Pierre McGuire loosely implied when he said he was sure no one wanted to lose to her, can’t come soon enough. It’s not like Coyne is a random fan. She’s one of the best in the world at what she does.

Schofield didn’t win, but she finished less than a second behind McDavid, which is pretty darn impressive. She also finished less than a half second behind NHL stars Elias Pettersson, Cam Atkinson, and Miro Heiskanen.

The second moment, and perhaps the most impressive moment of the evening, sadly wasn’t shown on NBCSN. Team USA alternate captain Brianna Decker, who plays for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, demonstrated the passing challenge portion of the skills competition. She finished with a time of 66 seconds. The “winner”, Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, finished it in 69 seconds.

Now, the winner of each event receives $25,000. If there is any justice in this world, the CWHL and other women’s hockey leagues around the world will get a ton of donations in the next few days. One of those donations better be coming from the NHL and it better be for $25,000. Draisaitl ought to consider donating that $25,000 he won as well. Decker could sure use that money more than him. That prize is equal to her salary from playing hockey in 2018.

Rebbeca Johnston of Team Canada, who also plays for the Inferno, demonstrated the infamously difficult puck control relay. Once again, this wasn’t shown on NBCSN, which is a darn shame. They find it appropriate to have someone who once threw a shoe at a fan as an analyst, yet they don’t find it appropriate to show a female hockey player? That’s baffling. Johnston appears to unofficially beat John Tavares, Jeff Skinner, and Pettersson at just under 35 seconds.

Renata Fast from Team Canada, who plays for the Toronto Furies of the CWHL, demonstrated the accuracy shooting competition, along with Coyne. Unfortunately, neither demonstration wasn’t televised in the United States or Canada.

At the skills competition, women were put on an equal playing field as the best men hockey players in the world. Not only did they hold their own, they proved they deserve much more attention. Women’s hockey isn’t as physical as men’s hockey. But the flow of the game is much smoother and the game is more finesse-based.

Consider watching some women’s hockey, as their best players just proved they belong on the same stage as the male counterparts. Even if there are those who don’t want to admit it.