Sudbury

Women's hockey 'moving in right direction' Rebecca Johnston says

The National Hockey League held its annual all-star game this weekend, starring the best players on the planet.

After scoring winner in 3-on-3 tourney during the NHL All-Star Break, Sudbury's Johnston sets eyes on Olympics

Rebecca Johnston of the Canadian women's hockey team says athletes are still fighting for a new women's hockey league. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The National Hockey League held its annual all-star game this weekend, starring the best players on the planet.

And this year, that was true for women as well.

The top women's hockey players were featured in a 3-on-3 tournament Friday night, with Sudbury's Rebecca Johnston scoring the winner in a 3-1 victory over the U.S. 

The tournament has some wondering if the NHL is about to take a bigger interest in the women's game, just one year after the Canadian Women's Hockey League, the top Canadian pro league for women, was put on ice.

In 2019, the league cited financial uncertainty as the reason for its collapse.

Johnston said news of the league's demise came as a shock, but overall hockey is heading in the right direction.

"I think it shows that the NHL supports women's hockey, that they want us to succeed," Johnston said. 

"I think it might take a little bit of time to get a league up professionally, but it's not something that we want to rush. We want to do it right."

She said one of things hockey players in the CWHL hope for is to be treated like professional athletes.

"It's not about making millions of dollars, or making a lot of money at all," she said. "It's more about creating a league that will last and that girls can aspire to play, and have a place to play when they're done college."

Despite nearing the midway point of her career, Johnston said that getting a chance to play in any league isn't what's driving her.

"We're doing it to fight for the next generation," she said. "I know that I'm probably not going to be in the league for that long anyway."

"But we're doing it for the younger generation that is coming up playing hockey, wanting to play somewhere and being able to play in a league that's sustainable and professional."

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