The National Women's Hockey League will call Music City home this weekend as they bring their annual All-Star Weekend to Tennessee.
On Saturday, Feb. 9, hockey fans can catch the NWHL All-Stars Skills Challenge at Ford Ice Center in Antioch, where members of the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team and all-stars from the NWHL will take the ice in several skills-based competitions.
Then, on Sunday, Feb. 10, Bridgestone Arena will host the NWHL All-Star Game, where Buffalo Beauts goaltender and three-time Olympian Shannon Szabados will lead her team against U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and Minnesota Whitecaps defender Lee Stecklein's squad.
Ford Ice Center General Manager Danny Butler is anticipating an exciting event and a fun time for hockey fans of all ages at the skills competition on Saturday.
"The skills competition is going to be awesome. This is really a chance to get up close and personal," Butler said. "Being in Bridgestone is great, and you have great sightlines everywhere, however, the fact that you will be so intimate with everything that's going on - the ladies will walk right by coming out of the locker room so you can high five them as they come out onto the ice, you'll literally be on the glass at the same level they are, you won't be 150 feet away from them - it's going to be great."
Before the Skills Challenge, Ford Ice Center will also be hosting the Girls Youth Jamboree, where girls can learn to play hockey during on-ice clinics with league players or take part in a Q&A session with NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan, Bauer Hockey's Vice President of Marketing Mary-Kay Messier, Stecklein and more NWHL all-stars.
The hope is to convince more girls that they can play hockey too, Butler said.
"We have a great grassroots program and a great co-ed program, but the goal now is to get more girls playing. We want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to play," Butler said. "They can come out to this event and see that girls can fly around the ice as fast or can shoot just as accurately or do all those things the boys can do, and be up close to see all of it - I think it's going to be huge for that."
Coming just weeks after Kendall Coyne-Schofield captured the attention of the hockey world after her historic NHL All-Star Skills Competition appearance in San Jose, the timing couldn't be more perfect for hosting the NWHL event. Schofield herself will even be in attendance, competing in the Fastest Skater competition again.
"We all have money on who's going to win that, but how great is that to see?" Butler said. "To see this player who's now in Nashville showing off her skills in person? It's going to be great."
Following the Skills Challenge on Saturday, the league will host its All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. The game will consist of two 25-minute halves, with each team made up of 14 skaters and two goaltenders.
For ticketing and more information, click here.