On Saturday and Sunday, the National Women’s Hockey League will take over Boston for its All-Star weekend. An original NWHL market, Boston becomes the first city with an existing team to host the celebration since Buffalo hosted 2016’s inaugural All-Star game.
Here is a guide to the event:
Where is it happening?
The weekend’s events will be held at Warrior Ice Arena, where the Boston Pride have sold out two home contests en route to a 20-1 record this season. The All-Star Game, which is set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m., consists of two 25-minute periods of 4-on-4 play. The All-Star Skills Challenge, including fastest skater, relay race, and hardest-shot competitions, is slated for Saturday at 8 p.m.
Who is playing?
The two All-Star teams, captained by Madison Packer and Jillian Dempsey, will each consist of 14 skaters and two goalies. Dempsey, 28, is a Winthrop native who played college hockey at Harvard.
Players earned All-Star bids in three ways: Packer, Dempsey, and six other players (including Boston University alumnae Shannon Doyle and Kaleigh Fratkin) were recognized for having played in the league since its inaugural season.
Lexi Bender, who played at Boston College, Rebecca Morse, and Audra Richards were voted in by fans. More than 15,000 ballots were cast online, according to the league.
The remaining 21 players were selected by league officials, general managers, and coaches.
How can I watch?
Tickets, which range from $10 for standing room at the Skills Challenge to $30 for end zone access to both days’ events, are available on the league’s website.
Both events will also be broadcast live on Twitch.
. . .
When the NWHL All-Star festivities get underway in Boston this weekend, 30 players will hit the ice at Warrior Ice Arena to celebrate the best of their sport. Eight of those players are members of the hometown Boston Pride, who have the most selections of any NWHL team.
Of the remaining All-Stars, seven play for the Minnesota Whitecaps, six represent the Buffalo Beauts, and the Metropolitan Riveters and Connecticut Whale will each send five representatives to Boston.
Players to watch
Jillian Dempsey, Boston Pride
The league’s all-time leading scorer, Dempsey will captain one of the two All-Star teams this weekend. This year alone, the Winthrop native leads the league in points (36), assists (21), and points per game (1.7). Dempsey, who has captained the Pride for the past three seasons, was recognized with the league’s Denna Laing Award in 2018 and 2019, “awarded to the player who most exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to her sport.”
On Jan. 27, she became the first player to reach 100 career points.
Dempsey played at Harvard, and was a Patty Kazmaier finalist her senior year (2012-13) and a two-time All-ECAC and All-Ivy League first-team honoree.
Kate Leary, Metropolitan Riveters
Leary is a New England product from Seabrook, N.H., who played hockey at Boston College after graduating from Governor’s Academy in Byfield. In addition to being second on the Riveters in scoring with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists), the forward is a head coach for the Walpole Express.
Prior to this season, Leary played for the CWHL’s Boston Blades, where she led the team in scoring for two seasons, and was the leading scorer in the Swiss Hockey League last year.
The NWHL Player of the Month for December, Leary will also participate in the new Skill Challenge relay race. Four skaters from each team will navigate obstacles before scoring an empty-net goal and skating back to where they began.
Kaleigh Fratkin, Boston Pride
A Boston University alumna, the Burnaby, British Columbia, native is the all-time scoring leader among defenders. In addition to participating in the All-Star game itself, Fratkin will participate in the hardest shot contest during the skills challenge on Saturday.
Fratkin’s three goals and 15 assists lead defenders on the Pride, and she has a whopping +29 plus-minus ranking. An original member of the NWHL, Fratkin was the first player to sign a contract for the 2019-20 season.
Amanda Leveille, Minnesota Whitecaps
A two-time Isobel Cup champion, the Kingston, Ontario, native returned to Minnesota, where she played in college, when the NWHL expanded to include the Whitecaps in 2018. Leveille is chasing Lovisa Selander in league-wide stats, with 13 wins and a .932 save percentage for the second-place Whitecaps.
The 2018 NWHL Goaltender of the Year was named Player of the Month for January.
Lovisa Selander, Boston Pride
Dempsey brings the best offense to the league, and the best goaltending is right here in Boston, too. Selander graduated from RPI last year as the NCAA’s Division 1 record-holder for career saves with 4,167. The 23-year-old, from Sollentuna, Sweden, also set program records in starts, losses, and ties while finishing second in wins and third in shutouts.
In her first professional season, Selander leads the league with 14 wins and a.934 save percentage.