Anne Photograp News 2024

Meet PWHL hockey player Kendall Coyne, a new kind of ‘hockey mom’

Meet PWHL hockey player Kendall Coyne, a new kind of ‘hockey mom’

Two-time gold medal Olympic and professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) player, Kendall Coyneis not your average hockey mom.

The captain of Team Minnesota spends her hours on the ice, not in the stands. When the puck drops, she trades goblets for clap shots and trades time for a nap lap time. Kendall makes sure she puts everything into her hockey game, and then she turns around and puts that same energy into parenting.

“When people think of a hockey mom, they often think of the mom coming into the rink to watch her kids play,” Kendall says. Women’s health as she prepared for her final regular season home game. “I see hockey motherhood as a redefinition of what a hockey mom can be. And for me, that’s playing hockey with my child cheering me on.”

Kendall, whose son, Drew, is now 10 months old, played with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) and Team USA during her first trimester, and continued to practice skating until she was 31 weeks pregnant. She was training until two days before she welcomed baby Drew with husband Michael Schofield, a professional football player, in July 2023. Six weeks after giving birth, Kendall returned to the weight room (doctors can often clear women for exercise on this postpartum benchmark), was called up for the PWHL and hit the ice for her first game with Team Minnesota on January 3.

“It was just so incredible to be able to go on this journey with my son by my side,” she says. “It’s been so hard to get back to this point. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but he gives me so much strength and so much motivation.”

As the only mother on her team, Kendall says she hopes she inspires other teammates to know they can be mothers And still play hockey. She wants women to know that you don’t have to choose between the two.

“I never wanted (my son) to think he was the reason I would quit hockey,” she says. “He is the reason I continue to play hockey and go through this journey with him, whether he remembers it or not.”

pwhl boston vs minnesota march 13, 2024 photo by kelly hagensonpwhl

Kelly Hagenson

Kendall takes the ice as captain of PWHL Minnesota.

Kendall’s rising fame goes beyond arenas full of fans.

This spring, the PWHL star will make her debut as a voice actress in the latest Disney Pixar sequel, Inside out 2. The film hits theaters on June 14 and follows Riley, a female hockey player in her teenage years. Riley encounters and learns to control her emotions, such as joy, sadness, anger and this time new fear.

“Being a professional athlete and competing at the highest level, this position brings a lot of stress and anxiety,” says Kendall. “And I think it’s learning how to not allow those emotions to take over, affect your game or affect who you are on a regular basis.”

Like Riley, Kendall has experienced many emotional battles throughout her hockey career, both on and off the ice. Embracing and managing those emotions, which become even more complicated during pregnancy and postpartum — not to mention the balance between being a mother and a hockey captain — has been key to her success.

“As I’ve gotten older, and progressed in my career, I’ve learned to control the things I can control, and let go of the things I can’t,” Kendall explains. “I always say the two things I can control every day are my attitude and my effort. When things are difficult or stressful, I go back to that to ground myself.”

Leadership that supports players and motherhood makes Kendall’s balancing act possible.

Over the past decade, women’s sports franchises have doubled down on support for pregnant and parenting players. In 2020, FIFA granted all female football players worldwide a minimum of fourteen weeks of parental leave at two-thirds of their regular salary. That same year, the WNBA extended full salaries to league players on maternity leave, up to $5,000 per year for child care for children under 13, and a paid two-bedroom apartment.

Within the PWHL, support for hockey moms looks like pumping rooms for breastfeeding players at events like the PWHL Draft, eight weeks of paid maternity leave, support for nannies along the way until a child’s first birthday, and support for players through things like housing reimbursements. , athletic training, doctors, strength coaches, massage therapists, chiropractors, daily training and on-ice workouts, and two meals a day.

“(These investments) allow us to come to the rink and focus on our craft, focus on our team and focus on winning a championship instead of worrying about our second or third job,” says Kendall. “We also don’t have to worry about where we’re going to get our skates sharpened, how we’re going to get where we need to go, or booking ice time.”

Kendall calls this battle, when women were left to fend for themselves on and off the ice, “the old days.” She credits Kimbra and Mark Walter, business and philanthropic leaders and private investors behind the PWHL, for their continued support of the league’s six teams, including three Canadian (Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa) and three American (Minnesota, Boston, New York). ploughing.

a man holding a baby

PWHL Minnesota

Kendall’s husband Michael and son Drew cheer her on from the stands.

Kendall is ‘not surprised’ by the PWHL’s memorable first year.

Looking back on this year’s record-breaking first season of the competition, Kendall isn’t shy about saying, “It’s been a memorable year.” Nearly three million fans around the world watched the first-ever PWHL game on January 1, when New York defeated Toronto 4-0. Montreal’s showdown against Toronto almost four months later sold out the NHL’s largest stadium, the Bell Centre, with 21,105 fans in the stands – the largest attendance for a women’s hockey game… ever. And at home, Kendall’s Team Minnesota averages 6,880 spectators per game. Of course, her number one cheerleader, son Drew, is always in the crowd.

“I think we all believed that this was possible. We always had the vision that women’s hockey could be and is so successful,” she says. “My hope for the future is that this will just get better and better and better.”