Coming off the heels of its first-ever broadcast deal, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced yesterday it will hold its first annual All-Star Game on Dec. 13 in Toronto.

The game, which will be free, will be at the Air Canada Center (home of the Toronto Maple Leafs). It is another big step forward for women’s hockey and for a league that is working hard for fan engagement on a limited budget.

“The Inaugural CWHL ALL-Star Game presents an incredible opportunity for the league to showcase its top talent, both in person at the Air Canada and through our broadcast deal with Sportsnet,” said CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress. “As we grow the league and its fan base, it seems only natural to add an event like this to our annual calendar of exceptional sporting entertainment.”

The 40 CWHL All-Star players, including 19 Olympians and National Team members, have been pre-selected by the players themselves, coaches and CWHL team management. Fans will get a chance to vote for the captain of each All-Star team after players are announced on Nov. 20. Online voting will take place Nov. 29 to Dec. 10. After captains are decided, there will be a private draft on Dec. 12 when the captains will pick the first five players. The remaining players will be chosen at random.

The CWHL All-Star game will feature a skills competition and two full periods of hockey. The CWHL aims to provide an NHL-game experience feel at the event, only with professional women’s hockey.

The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet as part of the CWHL’s new broadcast deal.

Currently the CWHL consists of five teams: the Toronto Furies, Boston Blades, Brampton Thunder, Calgary Inferno and Montreal Stars. 

Fans can RSVP to the game at mapleleafs.com/cwhlallstar.

A college hockey fan and hockey player, Krista Patronick decided to pursue a career in sports management after earning a degree in English from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 2009 and spending three years in journalism. She received her Master's of Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University in 2013. After realizing she was meant to work in the hockey world, Krista went to work in any press box she could get into. She kept statistics, wrote shot charts, tweeted and live-blogged her way to a job as an operations coordinator and marketing director at The Hockey Academy in Hudson, N.H. She works with the company's two junior teams, adult hockey players, and youth teams. Krista is a goalie and enjoys playing hockey in her spare time. She is a die-hard Bruins and River Hawks hockey fan. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @KristaPatronick

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