Kendall Coyne Schofield Made History as the First Woman to Compete in the NHL All-Star Skills Contest

U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield made sports history on Friday night as the first woman ever to compete in the NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition, an event that shows off the talent of some of the best professional hockey players.

In the past, the annual tradition has been reserved for male players in the league. But when Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had to drop out of the competition because of a foot injury, his team tapped Coyne Schofield to replace him. Coyne Schofield, who is a member of the U.S. women's national ice hockey team and won a gold medal in 2018, jumped at the chance—and on Friday, she hit the ice, ready to fly.

“It was a no-brainer,” she said. “Obviously, it’s huge honor to be the first woman to take part in the NHL Skills competition. It was surreal.”

Coyne Schofield kicked things off by opening the fast skate event and ended up securing a lightning-quick time of 14.346 seconds. She landed in seventh place ahead of Arizona Coyotes player Clayton Keller, while Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid won first place and his third title in the event. But to Coyne Schofield, what was important was changing the rules of the hockey competition.

"My first impression was, like, ‘I can do this,’” Coyne Schofield said at a news conference after the event. “My speed is definitely my strength. Obviously, I was a little nervous, but I knew it was a moment that was going to break a lot of barriers, and a moment that would change the perceptions of our game."

Coyne Schofield wowed a lot of the hockey world, including MacKinnon, the player she replaced.

“It’s amazing, her stride,” he said on NBC Sports Network. “She is so powerful."

Others sang Coyne Schofield's praises and noted what a significant moment her skate was for women in hockey.

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Published at Sat, 26 Jan 2019 16:27:23 +0000