Prior to setting a blistering time around the rink at the NHL All-Star Skills this past weekend, Kendall Coyne Schofield made sure Connor McDavid was in the same boat as she was.
“I asked him if he was nervous,” Coyne Schofield told the broadcast team on NBCSN prior to Wednesday Night Hockey. “He said he was, so that made me feel a little better. I got to the starting line and the crowd just erupted.”
The chants of ‘USA, USA’ and the rest of the yelling and screaming help propel Coyne around the rink, and then it came: a 14.346-second lap, just a second off McDavid’s time and faster that Arizona’s Clayton Keller, who also participated.
“It was go time,” she said.
Coyne, who currently plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), became the first woman to compete in an NHL All-Star Skills and along with fellow U.S. National team member Briana Decker who participated in the Premier Passer event, stole the show.
In fact, it was so inspiring that NBC hired Coyne Schofield to be an analyst on Wednesday night during the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“This past weekend has just been incredible,” she said. “Just to see the barriers that have been broken, the historic moment that was made and the response… just seeing all of those messages, young girls picking up skates for the first time, young boys saying I want to be as fast as her. It changed the way society views women and specifically women and girl’s hockey. It’s just been tremendous.”
Part of Coyne Schofield’s assignment on Wednesday was playing a little bubble hockey with Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
She won, of course.
The two have a little in common. Coyne Schofield attended Northeastern while Dumoulin attended rival Boston College. Both played in the Beanpot Tournament, which pits Boston University, Boston College, Harvard University and Northeastern in a two-round tournament for state bragging rights.
Dumoulin is a three-time winner of the tourney, while Coyne Schofield won it twice.
Coyne Schofield will go between the glass with Pierre McGuire during Wednesday’s game, along with providing analysis during both intermissions with play-by-play man, John Forslund.
Her chance to shine isn’t too far off, either.
Coyne Schofield and the rest of her USA teammates are gearing up for the 2019 Rivalry Series against Canada. The three-game series takes place in Toronto and London, Ont., with the final in taking place at Little Caesars Arena on Feb. 17 as part of Hockey Week Across America.