History was made last night. Kendall Coyne has become the first woman to compete in the NHL All-Star Skills competition. Coyne was substituted in when it was announced that Nate MacKinnon, of the Colorado Avalanche, was unable to participate in the Fastest Skater event, due to a foot injury. Coyne took the invitation with honor and did fantastic, both on and off the ice! Her final time was 14.346 seconds (7th of the 8 players selected) and the video will give you chills:
A Background of Kendall Coyne Schofield
Kendall Coyne Schofield, a left winger, is one of the best in women’s hockey. At just 26 years old, Coyne has won 5 gold medals in the IIHF World Women’s Championship and just last February she added an Olympic Gold medal, following USA’s Women Ice Hockey team victory over in Pyeong Chang. During the Olympic games, Coyne scored 2 goals for Team USA.
The Women’s USA team has also been playing games against other national teams to grow the game. In the 4 international games she’s played in this season, Coyne has 1 goal and 4 assists for a total of 5 points.
Coyne is one of the founding players of the NWHL, National Women’s Hockey League. She was drafted 3rd overall by the NWHL’s Boston Pride in its inaugural year back in 2015. After returning from the Olympics, Coyne signed with the Minnesota Whitecaps and so far this season, in 11 games, she’s picked up 5 points and 7 assists with a +9 rating.
Coyne stands at 5’2″, weighing in at 127 lbs, and Coyne uses it to her advantage. She’s an absolute speed demon on the ice. There was no better candidate for the NHL’s Fastest Skater Contest.
This race means so much more than the $25,000 reward for winning. This race has knocked in part of a barrier that stood between the worlds of “Women’s Hockey” and “Men’s Hockey”. Coyne has shown that girls are just as speedy as the boys because she is already the 7th fastest person in the NHL. In a post game interview, Coyne said that at the start she was nervous but there were more important things on her mind:
“I knew it was a moment that was gonna break a lot of barriers and a moment that would change the perception of our game, show support to our game.” (x)
The players on the bench were nothing but supportive for Coyne. Connor McDavid, who won the speed contest for the 3rd year in a row, talked about how impressed he was with Coyne’s speed, “When she took off, I thought she might have won, the way she was moving,”
In this interview, Coyne talks about how she got all positive feedback and were supportive of her being in the contest. You can see it on their faces when Coyne finishes her run through and skates to the bench to give knucks to all the other players. It’s smiles and dropped jaws down the whole line, a fantastic sight to see. Here’s a video from behind the bench and it’s truly amazing:
Kendall Coyne Schofield is a role model for little girls everywhere. She is definitely the hero I know I needed as a little girl when people told me I couldn’t play sports just for being a girl. Coyne’s performance at the All-Star game is going to be an inspiring message that is going to be sent down from generation to generation.
Manon Rheaume saw a wall between hockey worlds and ran at it, creating a crack. Years passed until last night, Kendall Coyne Schofield finally broke through enough so we can see a bit of sunshine, coming through from the other side. And the days coming up are going to be very bright.
“I think it shows that the top players, man or woman, belong.”
Featured Image: Ben Margot/AP Photos