Seven Olympians with 15 combined medals set to represent their countries once again
BOSTON, MA – (January 26, 2023) – The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced a decorated group of seven women’s hockey legends including Hockey Hall of Famers, Olympic gold medalists, international superstars, and Isobel Cup champions to comprise its coaching staff for 2023 All-Star weekend. Kim St-Pierre and Geraldine Heaney have been named coaches for PHF Team Canada, Kacey Bellamy, and Colleen Coyne will stand behind the bench for PHF Team USA, Erika Holst and Venla Hovi will lead Team World, and Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle will serve as honorary goaltending coach. The PHF All-Stars hit the ice at 7:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 29 at Toronto’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“We are very excited and honored to have such an esteemed group come together for this PHF All-Star weekend,” said Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner. “Each of these women has made significant impacts on the game both on and off the ice, and we look forward to celebrating their commitment and contributions as true leaders in our sport. With national pride on the line as part of this year’s All-Star format, I’m sure that some long-standing rivalries will be revitalized among our coaches that will help set the stage for some outstanding competition.”
St-Pierre won three Olympic gold medals and five World Championships during her time with the Canadian National Women’s Team which spanned 14 international seasons. The native of Châteauguay, Quebec is the program’s all-time leading goaltender with 83 games played, 64 wins, and 29 shutouts. In 2020 she became the first female netminder to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. St-Pierre shared gold medal victories with Heaney at the 2002 Olympics and the final three of the defender’s seven-straight world titles. Heaney earned Hall of Fame induction in 2013 following her illustrious career and is currently in her first season as head coach of the Toronto Six.
“I am very excited to be joining the PHF All-Star events this weekend in Toronto,” said St-Pierre. “The players and coaches are great leaders for women’s hockey, and they are paving the way for the next generation. I am looking forward to coaching the Canadian team with my former teammate Geraldine Heaney!”
Bellamy was the backbone of the U.S. National Women’s Team that achieved unprecedented success highlighted by 2018 Olympic gold after two silver medal finishes, and won eight World Championship titles in nine tournament appearances. The Westfield, MA native is currently in the midst of her first season as PHF Scout and Player Relations Liaison, returning to the league where she was a two-time All-Star and 2016 Isobel Cup champion with the Boston Pride. Coyne is in her second season as President of the Pride, and like Bellamy, played defense when representing her country, most notably as a member of the historic 1998 Team USA that won Olympic gold over Heaney and Team Canada in the first year of women’s ice hockey competition at the winter games.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as the coach for the USA side of the All-Star game with a legend like Colleen,” said Bellamy. “It has been an incredible experience thus far working with the PHF and helping it grow. This will be a fun and historic weekend for the league, and I can’t wait to be behind the bench and watch it all unfold.”
Holst is one of the most distinguished figures in Swedish women’s hockey history, serving as national team captain for 11 years and leading the program to its greatest achievements on the international stage. The four-time Olympian won silver for her country in 2006, bronze in 2002, and competed in 11 World Championships where she won two bronze medals. She also has winning experience in North America, winning the first three women’s NCAA national championships with the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Holst is currently a head coach with Frölunda HC and no stranger to Hovi, who is in her first season as head coach of the Metropolitan Riveters. During Hovi’s playing career with rival Finland she won Olympic bronze in 2010 and 2018, plus a World Championship silver and three bronze.
“I’m very excited over the opportunity to be a part of the PHF All-Star weekend,” said Holst. “It’s great to see the development of women’s hockey globally. I’m honored and humbled to take on the coach role of Team World with lots of high-class players. I’m also happy I get to be on the bench with a former rival in Venla Hovi, time for Finland and Sweden to team up!”
McLaughlin-Bittle is a two-time Olympian with Team USA where she earned silver medals in 2010 and 2014. Between those events, she won two gold and one silver in World Championship competition. The Sheffield, OH native played two PHF seasons in Buffalo where she was a two-time All-Star and backstopped the Beauts to the 2017 Isobel Cup title, earning MVP of the final with a 58-save performance against Boston. A former national team goaltending coach, McLaughlin-Bittle now runs girl’s hockey camps in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
“I am honored to be a part of the All-Star staff this weekend,” said McLaughlin-Bittle. “I have some of the best memories at this event back in the first and second seasons of the PHF. It will be great to see firsthand where we started and how much the league has grown since then. I’m so proud of the girls and staff of this organization who work so hard to put women’s hockey where it deserves to be.”
The 2023 PHF All-Star Weekend is presented by Air Canada and Sailun Tire. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live across the United States on ESPN2 and in Canada on TSN, TSN.ca, and the TSN app beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online via TicketMaster for $29.50 including taxes and processing fees.
About the Premier Hockey Federation
The PHF is the home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and provide opportunities for elite athletes to earn a living playing the game they love while fueling the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Montreal Force, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup. As part of a two-year agreement with ESPN, live coverage of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 PHF seasons is available exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States, and provides international rights for games which includes TSN in Canada. For more information visit premierhockeyfederation.com.
featured image obtained from: premierhockeyfederation.com