The NHL All-Star game just took place in San Jose, California for all NHL fans to watch the most talented and elite hockey players in the world showcase their skills and create thrills on the ice. For a long time now, the relevance of the game has been debated but one thing for sure, many would say that it’s the one time of the year, future legends and greats get together and stand side-by-side, to celebrate each other’s abilities and gifts.
This year, one more celebration was added to the list, and that was the skills and athletic prowess, female and U.S. hockey star, Kendall Coyne Schofield put on display, showing the boys how the fastest skater competition should be done. She made history as the first female to ever be showcased at such an event in all of professional sports and not only that, she proved more than just being able to keep up with the big boys, she could beat them. She raced around the rink in a time competitive with the top skaters in the men’s game which is a barrier-breaking moment for women’s hockey worldwide.
“The crowd was electrifying,” Coyne Schofield said. “To hear the USA chants, everyone erupted when I started. Definitely gave me some momentum and the adrenaline was pumping.”
“This is definitely a top three moment in my career,” she added.
All of five-foot-two, she was the first skater to take the ice and completed her lap in 14.346 seconds, which made a lasting impression on the NHL’s biggest stars when they witnessed her speed. She finished seventh out of eight skaters, and beat Arizona’s forward, Clayton Keller who’s time was 14.526 seconds. “She beat me so she’s doing something right,” Keller said.
“When she took off, I was like, ‘Wow!’” Said superstar Connor McDavid after he won his third fastest skater competition. “I thought she might have won the way she was moving. She was a really good skater and that was an amazing thing for the game to see her participate like that in an event like this.”
“She was flying,” Toronto Maple Leafs’ star and Atlantic Team Captain, Auston Matthews said. “She came out for warmups, was buzzing around, and everyone was taking notice because she just looks fast.”
Coyne Schofield is 26 years old and currently plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League. She also sports an Olympic gold medal which she won for the United States last February. She got the chance quite last minute, but despite it being an unplanned call, it showed fans and the sport that this kind of mixed-sex integration was important for sport, which does not simply cater to 50% of the population. So, thank you to Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, who had to pull out with an injury, so that we as diverse hockey fans could enjoy the full advantage of her taking the opportunity to hit the ice.
The chance to perform on the big stage was not just hers, but for all girls, minorities and under-represented fans that can actually witness that hockey truly can be for everyone, and that definitely was the brightest point of the All-star weekend for us and little girls everywhere who will walk into the rink with a new swagger.
“I would say to especially young girls, follow your dreams,” Coyne Schofield said. “Believe in yourselves. There’s nothing you can’t accomplish. I think tonight was definitely an example of that.”