Northeastern hockey alumna becomes first woman to compete in NHL skills competition

Sherman Parsons
January 30, 2019

It was the seventh best time out of the eight competitors (seven NHL All-Stars), beating Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller.

"She beat me. Wow", the Oilers forward told ESPN. She appeared to record a time of 1:06 in the demo, which beat out the eight National Hockey League player participants, including victor Leon Draisaitl (1:09).

When Schofield accepted the invitation to compete in the fastest skater event Friday, she did so in a tweet which included the hash tag "HockeyIsForEveryone".

On Friday night, Decker, like Coyne a member of the 2018 gold-medal winning American Olympic women's hockey team, "demonstrated" the Premier Passer competition, a demonstration NBCSN valued so much as to show old footage of current NBCSN analyst Jeremy Roenick in lieu of her live performance.

As is often the case, the skills competition seemed to offer up more big moments than the actual games, with Friday's event generating some solid buzz. But more importantly, for the first time in the history of the All-Star Game, women hockey players got a chance to shine against the best men in the world.

The NHL announced during Saturday night's All-Star Game that it would donate $25,000 to the charity or hockey program of Decker's and Coyne Schofield's choice, as well as the two other women who participated in the skills competition, Renata Fast and Rebecca Johnston. Decker completed the passing drill with an unofficial time that was reported to be 1:06, which - if official - would have been tops among all competitors.

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Schofield didn't win, but she finished less than a second behind McDavid, which is pretty darn impressive. Women's hockey isn't as physical as men's hockey.

"The crowd was electrifying", Coyne Schofield said.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper approached Coyne Schofield, who plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps in the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL), on the bench.

"She beat me?" Draisaitl asked, per Larkin. I just wanted to make sure she knew. And they more than held their own.

"I would say to especially young girls, follow your dreams", Coyne Schofield said.

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