Kendall Coyne Schofield broke through a massive gender barrier when she competed in the fastest skater event at the NHL All-Star Skills competition. She became the first woman to ever compete with the men in the event and blazed around the rink in a time that was right there with the fastest hockey players on the planet, including Connor McDavid.
Coyne Schofield is a two-time Olympic medallist with the United States women’s hockey team. She was in town for the Edmonton Oilers’ game against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night because she’s an analyst for NBC’s national NHL broadcast in the U.S.
Global News’ Quinn Phillips recently had the chance to talk to her about her barrier-breaking skate and more.
Q: What was the reaction of the players when you were at the skills competition?
A: I would say they were in awe. I was doing my thing, something I’ve been doing since I was three years old. It was cool to see their support because their support validated what we (female hockey players) do every single day. They know how hard we work and we know how hard they work and they view us as hockey players, and for them to show their emotion in that moment and how awesome it was, I think proved to the world that we do belong in the sport of hockey.
Q: Where do you get the power in that small frame? (Coyne Schofield is listed at five-foot-two)
A: I don’t weigh much, I’m 125 pounds, but I want to be 125 pounds of muscle. That’s something I can control, is my effort in the weight room. I know I can’t control my height and my size, but I can control my strength and that’s a big part of my game and that has helped me get faster over the years.
Q: Do you get recognized more? What has it been like since then?
A: I get recognized a little bit here and there. I think what’s so exciting is just to see all the young people that have picked up the sport — whether it’s a girl or a boy, they feel inspired to chase their dream or dream bigger than they might [have] because they saw me skate. It’s been pretty cool.
Q: There’s still a long ways to go, but are you seeing a change in how women’s hockey is viewed and consumed by sports fans?
A: It’s definitely getting there. I think we need to take a bit [of a] step in the women’s game and create one league. There’s the CWHL (Canadian Women’s Hockey League) here in Canada and the NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) in the [United] States, so it’s, ‘How do we make that one league? How does it come together?’ Because that’s only going to transcend the game to bigger and better things.
Q: In terms of broadcasting, has this all come about since the All-Star Game?
A: I’ve always had an interest in broadcasting. I was a communications major at Northeastern University and so I did a little sideline reporting there when I was able to in between my games, and I would cover the men’s games, so [I’m a big] big Matt Benning fan from Northeastern. But since the All-Star Game, it has been extremely exciting [and] overwhelming and it’s just been amazing to see how the landscape of women’s hockey and the sport in general has changed.
Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of women’s hockey.
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