The National Women’s Hockey League took to the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday afternoon as they kicked off events during 2018 All-Star Weekend.
Despite the single digit temperatures of three degrees Fahrenheit, the outdoor rink on St. Peter Street in downtown St. Paul the all-stars were joined by about two dozen young girls from the United States and Canada. The future NWHL stars wore the jerseys of their current heroes as they participated in the hockey clinic.
Leading scorer and Metropolitan Riveters forward, Alexa Gruschow, ran a passing drill with one of the future stars wearing her replica jersey. Connecticut Whale forward, Kelly Babstock said, “This is what it is all about. Sharing our love for hockey with the next generation.”
During the morning event, a film crew shot a documentary on the women’s game as they captured all the heartwarming moments, to preserve in history.
In the evening, Commissioner, Dani Rylan and Deputy Commissioner, Hayley Moore stopped by the Minnesota Wild game to lead their fans in the “Let’s Play Hockey” cheer before heading over to TRIA Rink for the 2018 NWHL Skills Competition. TRIA Rink is the Wild’s new state of the art, practice facility.
Team Leveille beat out Team Ott after a skate off between the two team captains; Boston Pride goaltender, Brittany Ott and Buffalo Beauts netminder, Amanda Leveille. Leveille, who played four years at the University of Minnesota said, “The entire day was fantastic, first with the morning skate with the young players and again tonight with the skills event.”
She added, “Everything has been run so well and the fans of Minnesota have really embraced us. The Skills Challenge tonight was a lot of fun and the fans have been really supportive. I think the whole day was a huge success.”
Beauts rookie, Kristin Lewicki won the Faster Skater competition for Team Leveille, with a time of 13.41. Riveters defender, Kelsey Koelzer, blasted a slapshot of 81 miles per hour, to take home the GoodWood Hockey, Hardest Shot event. Beauts captain, Corinne Buie, took out all four targets in 12.6 seconds to claim the Dunkin’ Donuts Shooting Accuracy title.
Buie, the Edina, Minnesota native said, “What a great night this has been. The Skills Challenge is a great showcase of all the talent in our league, and most of all it is a lot of fun for the players and the fans. The whole event tonight was really first class.”
While Team Leveille won the Fastest Goalie event, Team Ott took the Howie’s Hockey Tape Breakaway Challenge, points were awarded for creativity as well as the New Era Cap, Shootout Challenge. The night came down to a skate-off between the two captains.
Ott’s team tried to slow Leveille down by throwing their gloves towards her, but to no avail as Leveille was able to overcome the obstacles and take home the victory for her side.
Pride captain and All-Star, Jillian Dempsey added, “Our league continues to make great strides, and bringing All-Star Weekend to Minnesota with a partnership from the Wild is the latest example. I am proud to be part of this league and to be among the players not just on the Pride, but the entire NWHL.”
When the night was over the players from both sides participated in a group photograph at center ice. The weekend continues, Sunday afternoon at 12:30 Eastern Time and 11:30 Central. If you can’t make it to TRIA Rink, you can catch all the action on the Twitter Game of the Week, with Matt Falkenbury, Erica Ayala and Kelly Shultz calling all the action.