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A Whirlwind Year for the Fastest Woman in Hockey

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“Her leadership on the team is huge,” said Brodt, 20, a national team newcomer. “She’s not always the loudest in the locker room, but she’s always going to do the right thing on and off the ice.”

Olympic teammates hail her electrifying speed. Decker called Coyne Schofield the Connor McDavid of the team, referring to the Edmonton Oilers star and N.H.L. most valuable player who is also known for his speed. To the defender Kacey Bellamy, Coyne Schofield is “the fastest woman in the world.”

Coyne Schofield said she had had limited opportunities to work with skating coaches, although she did receive instruction from Kenny McCudden, the former skating and skills coach of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, who now works for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“When I was younger, I played with the boys a lot, and it forced me to be a good skater, because I don’t have much size,” said Coyne Schofield, who won the 2016 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top N.C.A.A. women’s hockey player. “You had to keep up with them or get off the ice, especially when you have a ponytail coming out of your helmet.”

Instead of working with a skating coach, she builds her speed in the weight room.

“I want to be the strongest player I can be,” she said. “I’m 125 pounds, but I want that to be 125 pounds of muscle. So it’s just constantly focusing on my strength. Obviously a lot of lower-body strength, a lot of single-leg strength. I’ve had amazing strength coaches throughout my career, and they’ve helped me maximize my speed, and have helped me get faster on the ice.”

Coyne Schofield takes inspiration from Cammi Granato, the national women’s team’s career leading scorer, who also grew up in the Chicago area. Coyne Schofield met Granato at a hockey camp at age 7.

She said the Olympic victory celebrations in South Korea hit home: “I got a text from Cammi offering her congratulations. I can get teary-eyed talking about it. I was 7 years old and I held her gold medal.”


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