BEIJING, CHINA – Before she was an Olympic hockey gold medalist, before she became the first woman to compete in the NHL’s all-star skills contests or was hired by the Chicago Blackhawks as a player development coach and youth hockey growth specialist, Kendall Coyne Schofield was the Hockey Girl with the Braid.
She fell in love with hockey while growing up in the Chicago suburbs, copying her older brother Kevin as they rollerbladed around their basement and blasted pucks at the walls. The photogenic dimple on the right side of her face isn’t a blessing of genetics: it’s the souvenir of a slapshot taken by Kevin.
Their parents let him play hockey and enrolled her in figure skating classes, no small expense for a family that grew to four children. She quit after two sessions. “I need the sport,” she told her stunned parents. They gave in — and learned to braid her hair to keep it out of the way when she wore her hockey helmet.