International Ice Hockey Federation

Coyne’s great season

Coyne’s great season

Team USA forward a player to watch

Published 24.03.2016 09:21 GMT-8 | Author Chris Jurewicz
Coyne’s great season
American Kendall Coyne celebrates a goal against Russia at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
It’s been some kind of a season for Kendall Coyne, who will soon play at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship with defending champion USA.

The Palos Heights, Illinois native re-wrote the NCAA’s Hockey East record book in her fourth and final season as a member of the Northeastern University Huskies. Coyne’s 55 points in 2015/16 are a new Hockey East standard, as are her career points (167), career goals (91), single-season goals (30), points per game (2.39) and goals per game (1.30).

The 23-year-old capped a tremendous season and NCAA career by being named the 2016 winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award on 20 March. The award is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey by the USA Hockey Foundation.

“It definitely wasn’t expected but it’s a tremendous honour,” says Coyne. “I’ve said this before but it was somewhat challenging accepting the award without my entire team there because we weren’t competing in the Frozen Four. As much as it is an individual award, there’s so much of a supporting cast behind it. It’s a tremendous honour for myself and my team.”

The Northeastern Huskies didn’t qualify for the Frozen Four. Still, it was an incredible year for Coyne and her teammates as they competed in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. The Huskies lost to Number 1-ranked Boston College in the quarter-finals.

Heading into the 2015/16 season, the entire Huskies team focused on one goal and one goal only – qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

“We were trying to do something that was never done before,” says Coyne. “We knew our goal was going to be a challenge and ultimately all our players came together and dedicated this season to that goal. That’s why we were successful. We were focused every day on getting better.”

Dave Flint, head coach of the Huskies, isn’t shy about heaping praise on what Coyne has meant to Northeastern.

“I have never coached and may never have the privilege of coaching another player as talented and committed as Kendall,” says Flint. “What’s so inspiring about Kendall is that she’s equally impressive in the classroom and as a leader and role model in the community. Kendall has left a mark on Northeastern, Hockey East, the NCAA, and the community that will be felt for a very long time.”

Giving back is certainly part of Coyne’s DNA. She earned a Bachelor of Communications from Northeastern and is currently completing a Masters of Communications in organizational communications. Coyne says she wants to work in community relations once her hockey career winds down.

Much of her time spent off the ice is in community building. She has been actively involved in several community service initiatives like Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, For Julie Foundation, Team for Tomorrow program and the Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Camps. Coyne also completed an internship with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Coyne was a member of Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and it was soon after her team’s heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to Canada that Coyne saw how powerful sports can be.

“The amount of lessons that hockey has taught me is endless,” she says. “The biggest thing is that it’s so much more than a game. After Sochi, I went home and we were a little distraught with the silver medal, but I went home and saw how happy, how inspiring I was to others and that really taught me that I’m not just a hockey player, I can use my hockey for other things. That’s why my dream job would be something where I could work with the community and community development.”

Before that begins, though, Coyne has some hockey left to play and that starts with the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Kamloops, Canada. Coyne and her Team USA teammates will face off against Canada on the tournament’s opening day, Monday, 28 March.

Team USA heads into the event as two-time defending champions and Coyne likes the makeup of the 2016 squad.

“We have great leadership,” says Coyne. “Any national team... almost every player is a leader on their other team. If I can show a little bit of leadership I’m going to but obviously not take away from the leaders that we’ve identified on this team. As I get older, I hope I can be a supporting for younger players, just like some of the older players were for me when I was younger.”


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