The National Women’s Hockey League will hold their second annual All-Star Game at UMPC Mario Lemieux Sports Complete, the practice facility of the Penguins. The NWHL Skills Competition is on Saturday, Feb. 11 and the All-Star Game is Sunday, Feb. 12.
As such the stylized jerseys feature the black and gold of the Steel City. Team Steadman, captained by Kelley Steadman of the Buffalo Beauts, will don the black jerseys. While Team Kessel, captained by New York Riveters forward Amanda Kessel, will wear gold.
One thing we don’t see is a traditional white jersey, and for that we applaud the NWHL. Their counterparts in the NHL won’t budge on that rule.
The NWHL could be facing its first labor battle as the deadline for free agency nears a close on Sunday, July 31.
As of the evening of July 30, the league has 17 total spots over four teams left to fill. They could easily fill the paid positions with any number of the unsigned players from the inaugural season, and would have done so by now if it weren’t for players from the US Women’s National Team (USWNT). All 11 returning and three draft picks from the USWNT roster are not under contract.
Waiting until the last hour to sign the USWNT members isn’t something new to the NWHL.
After the league was announced, the players for the USWNT decided to leave the CWHL for the newly formed NWHL that paid it’s players. Free agency closed on August 17 with the NWHL announcing they had filled all their roster spots, but would not disclose any players not previously named. From a league statement: “The NWHL still plans to announce the final team rosters and contract details as soon as the players are ready.”
“Ready” meant freed from the obligations of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). It took over a month before the issues were resolved and the all the new players announced. The season went on as planned and the heavy USWNT-laden Boston Pride went on to win the inaugural Isobel Cup.