CHICAGO (WREX) — Chicago area native and United States Olympian Kendall Coyne Schofield joins the Chicago Blackhawks as a player development coach, becoming the first woman to hold that position in the organization. She's also adding the title of youth hockey growth specialist, a role she's developed over the years promoting hockey in the Chicago area.
"I'm so excited," Coyne said about her new role. "I remember being 3 years old and putting on my first pair of skates and watching the Blackhawks play. At 7 years old, playing in the Junior Blackhawks game at the United Center, then again when I was nine. From there time passed and I became an intern in 2014 after the Olympics in the media relations department. I've always felt a part of this organization. To see things finally be formalized after a 6-7 year relationship from a business standpoint is such an honor."
Coyne's playing resume speaks for itself. She is a six-time World Champion at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship and has twice represented the U.S. in the Olympic Winter Games, earning a Gold Medal in PyeongChang in 2018 (2G, 1A) and Silver Medal in Sochi 2014 (2G, 4A). As part of a four-year collegiate playing career with Northeastern University, she led the NCAA in goals, goals per game, points per game, shorthanded goals and hat tricks during the 2015-16 season, earning the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in women’s college hockey as a senior. On January 25, 2019 Coyne became the first woman to compete in the National Hockey League’s All-Stars skills competition, posting a time of 14.326 seconds in the fastest-skater challenge. She has also recently held broadcasting analyst roles with NBC Sports and NBC Sports California. She's not worried that the men will question her credentials.
"No matter who walks through that door, whether it's a new coach, new nutritionist, new strength coach, as a new coach you need to earn the trust and respect of the players," she said. "I plan on doing that right away through the work ethic I will show them. That's how I made it as a player and that's how I plan on making it as a coach. While I might be the first female coach a lot of these players have worked with, I don't see it being an issue. I see them seeing me as someone who's going to help them get to the next level, to fulfill their NHL dream."
The Blackhawks also added former NHL player Erik Condra as a player development coach and Juan Gonzalez as the Rockford IceHogs strength and conditioning coach.
As player development coaches, Coyne and Condra will assist the Rockford Coaching staff in the skills development of current players, while also evaluating, assessing and scouting potential prospects. Additionally, Coyne has long served as a local community liaison for the Chicago Blackhawks organization and she will formalize this work in her new hybrid role as Youth Hockey Growth Specialist, specifically focused on grassroots youth hockey programs and clinics, implementation of girls’ hockey programming and the continued enhancement of her namesake all-girls program “Golden Coynes.” In his role, Gonzalez will oversee the strength and conditioning program of the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.