Kendall Coyne Schofield had an outstanding 2018 and shows no plan of slowing down in the new year. The Team USA & NWHL forward became the first woman to compete in the NHL All-Star Skills Competition after stepping in for an injured Nathan MacKinnon in the “Fastest Skater” event. Coyne approached the starting line Friday night as the crowd went wild with excitement. In just over fourteen seconds, the 5’2 powerhouse showed the world that hockey is for everyone. Coyne stated that she knew it would be a big moment, but the outpouring of support really showed the lasting impact it will have on the sport as a whole. Her performance and the fans’ reactions have been so significant that NBC hired Coyne as an analyst for the Wednesday Night Hockey game between Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Coyne reflected on the competition saying, “I just had to stand up…and just, you know, take it all in and just smile because I was like, this is just one of the coolest moments of my life.” This is just the most recent reason for celebration for the athlete. Coyne began last year with a historic Olympic gold medal. Six months later she became the first woman to play in the Chicago Professional Hockey League. To wrap up her 2018, Coyne was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and became the first woman to receive the Stan Mikita Lifetime Achievement Award. Starting 2019 off with another first and an on-air gig only seems fitting for this rising star.
Throughout her athletic career, Coyne has fought for gender equality in her sport. On and off the ice, through her playing and her words, she has shown women have a place in hockey. The support and encouragement from the NHL and the media further proves her point. “The NHL took a huge stance that night in allowing me to compete. They knew I could skate with the guys.”
“You cherish these moments,” Coyne said. “That’s that I tell kids all the time. When I was putting on my hockey skates when I was 3 years old, I didn’t think I’d play in two Olympic games, get the education that I received or sitting in front of you here today after being the first woman to compete in an All-Star skills competition. It’s amazing what this game has brought me.”