ST. LOUIS, MO - Any time the U.S. and Canadian Women's National Teams play, the intense rivalry shows why it's one of the best competitions in hockey. Typically, these teams face each other at the Olympics or World Championships. However, for the first time ever, the NHL featured women's hockey in their annual All-Star Weekend festivities.
Video: ALL-STAR RAW | USWNT Alex Rigsby Cavallini
The Elite Women's 3-on-3 game took place Friday night and showcased the speed and excitement of the women's game.
"This is a big night, history is being made tonight and I'm excited to be a part of it," said U.S. forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson. Lamoureux-Davidson gave birth one year ago, and for her to return to the ice is a special moment.
The 20-minute game was packed with close opportunities and some crowd-erupting goals. When the time was up, the Canadians came out on top, winning 2-1.
But for these players, playing this game was more than just who won and who lost. It was and is about growing the game for the next generation of female hockey players.
"It's an incredible opportunity for us," said U.S. goaltender Alex Rigsby Cavallini. "For us to come out and showcase our talent and what we're able to do, I think it's really going to really do some great things for our sport moving forward."
Including this event brings the women's game to a new audience and allows these national teams to increase their exposure, which is huge for the sport.
"We're doing what we can to help grow our game as much as possible, and thanks to the NHL we have an opportunity this weekend to do that," said U.S. forward Brianna Decker.
"My son Nelson just turned one on Wednesday, and so be here, just a year after giving birth, and having a child is really special to me," said Lamoureux-Davidson.
The push to showcase women's hockey on a national stage like this took a massive leap forward during the 2019 All-Star Game, in which U.S. Olympian Kendall Coyne Schofield competed in the NHL Fastest Skater competition and opened many eyes to just how good these players are.
There's no telling what the future holds for the NHL and women's hockey, but it's going to be exciting to see the growth continue and the investment in future generations unfold.