That plea resonated with the Scotiabank Arena crowd as Team Kloss attempted to overturn a two-goal deficit with its empty net in the final seconds of Thursday’s PWHL showcase in Toronto.
Team King, named after tennis icon Billie Jean King, a PWHL board member, ultimately won the match 5-3.
“It was definitely one of the most fun games I’ve been a part of,” said PWHL Ottawa’s Savannah Harmon, who scored a hat trick in Team King’s victory.
WATCH l Harmon’s hat trick leads Team King past Team Kloss:
The game, which took place on the opening night of the NHL All-Star Weekend, was the latest sign that women’s hockey is establishing itself after the first month of the PWHL drew record crowds, has been on television and featured many tough and competitive actions on the ice. .
The 20-minute 3-on-3 showcase felt like an All-Star game, both good and bad. The physical play that the PWHL quickly became known for was nonexistent. On the other hand, skill with all that open ice was predominant.
Perhaps the coolest part of the All-Star Games, in general, is seeing new combinations of notable players take the ice together, in the same jersey.
In this case, Team King called on Team Canada captain Marie-Philip Poulin alongside American stalwarts Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield to open the match. With all three being forwards, coach Cassie Campbell-Pascall’s motivations couldn’t have been clearer.
“It was nice not having to chase Pou. Very relieving, to say the least, and it was great to get back out there with Hil,” said Coyne Schofield, who was absent from the national team for a year. “I realized everyone just wanted to follow Pou so I could take my time and stay with the puck, so that was great.”
After two periods of 3-on-3 confrontation at the Canadian Tire Showcase, Team King takes the crown! 👑
Final score: 5-3 pic.twitter.com/rlHCcgjT3R
The lack of competitiveness was somewhat surprising, given that players had said they still needed to prove themselves.
“We can’t take it away, because at the end of the day people will always have the opinion that if we don’t give our best, women’s hockey is not good,” Poulin told La Canadian Press earlier this week.
Toronto’s Sarah Nurse, who plays on Team Kloss, said the competitiveness was in the eye of the beholder of the game.
Then again, the PWHL Showcase wasn’t just another All-Star Game. The players also added their own talent, like goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens, who sacrificed her positioning to make heroic saves on several occasions – and mostly succeeded, although an early retirement led to a goal for the other team. Desbiens also had his phone on the bench during the second half of the game, filming from ice level and clearly enjoying the point.
Meanwhile, Team King threw their gloves on the ice to celebrate Harmon’s hat trick – a twist on the usual celebration of the accomplishment.
“It was a cool moment. … I was like I can’t believe you did that. It was cute,” Harmon said.
“It’s great to see them take off,” says McDavid
The league is also making a good impression in the NHL. Connor McDavid said PWHL games are often shown on television in the Edmonton Oilers locker room.
“It’s great to see. Super entertaining, the hockey has been great. It’s great to see them take off,” he said at media day Thursday.
McDavid added that he only expects the league’s trajectory to move forward from here.
“I think the product is getting better and better, and I think it’s going to make the sport grow and I think that’s a good thing,” he said.
Other players said they were impressed by what they were able to watch between their own shows, even if it was only highlights.
The PWHL now aims to continue that momentum in two weeks, when Toronto hosts Montreal at Scotiabank Arena.
Tickets for the game sold out almost immediately today, which is expected to be the latest record crowd for the PWHL as the league really begins to take shape.
Thursday was just the latest sign that professional women’s hockey is simply becoming professional hockey.