Kendall Coyne Schofield wasn’t the only U.S. women’s national team player to make an impact during Friday’s NHL All-Star Skills event.
U.S. captain Brianna Decker showed off her passing talents during the Premier Passer demonstration before the NHL players took part. Her time of 1:06 beat out the event’s winner, Leon Draisaitl (1:09) of the Edmonton Oilers, but she was ineligible for the $25,000 prize.
“She beat me?” Draisaitl said afterward. “Wow. That is impressive. That’s really impressive. Good for her.”
Hockey fans rallied around Decker’s result and started the #PayDecker hashtag on social media. On Saturday afternoon, hockey equipment manufacturer CCM announced it would pay out the money to the Calgary Inferno (CWHL) forward.
Decker responded in a Tweet writing, “Sincerely thankful @CCMHockey You have been nothing but 1st class the last 5 years I have been a part of your family! Thank you for supporting the men’s and women’s game equally!”
After her demo, Decker had no idea how good her time was.
“[Erik] Karlsson went after me, so I was like, ‘OK, I think I might have beaten him,’ but I didn’t know how long it took me,” said Decker via The Hockey News. “I was just casually going through the demo. That passing was pretty tough. But I had no idea, actually.”
The NHL announced during the All-Star Game that they will be donating $25,000 to the charity or hockey program in the name of the four women — Decker, Coyne Schofield, Renata Fast, and Rebecca Johnston — who helped with the All-Star Skills event demonstrations. Coyne Schofield, of course, made a big splash on the night when she replaced Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche in the Faster Skater event and clocked a time of 14.346, beating out Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller.
UPDATE: There was some uncertainty with the clock during Decker’s demo, and the NHL has apparently reviewed it and determined her time was around 1:12-13, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.