The Chargers were front and center at the Pro Bowl as six Bolts and the entire coaching staff helped lead the AFC to a dominating 26-7 win over the NFC.
However, the NFL wasn’t the only professional sports league celebrating it's biggest stars as the NHL did as well. That included Friday’s Skills Competition, which served as a historic, groundbreaking moment with major ties to the Chargers family.
Mere hours before the event took place, U.S. Women’s National Team star Kendall Coyne Schofield was invited to compete in the fastest skater competition, marking the first time a woman vied against NHL competition.
Thus, all eyes were on the fastest skater competition as fans tuned in from coast to coast.
However, there was one person in particular cheering Coyne Schofield on more than anyone else – her husband, Michael Schofield.
“It was just incredible,” the Chargers guard said. “I wish I could’ve been there, but she didn’t realize she was going to be actually skating until about four hours before the event, she found out. So to actually be able to watch it on TV was just incredible, just the history she made, the amount of not even just women but people she’s inspired by doing that, it’s incredible.”
Coyne Schofield didn’t just compete; she gave the men a run for their money.
Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid won the competition with a time of 13.378 seconds. Coyne Schofield was close behind at 14.346.
"When she took off, I was like, `Wow!"' McDavid told reporters after the event according to the Associated Press. "I thought she might have won the way she was moving. She was a really good skater and that was an amazing thing for the game to see her participate like that in an event like this."
Coyne Schofield finished seventh in the competition, just ahead of the Arizona Coyotes’ Clayton Keller, who clocked in at 14.526.
"She beat me, so she's doing something right," he said. "She's really fast. I was surprised. It was great to see that. It was a great experience for the NHL to have her do that event. It was really cool."
The moment was totally surreal for Schofield, who shared what he told his wife after the event.
“I think we were both just in shock, like I can’t believe you just did that!” he said. “The history you made and everything, and the fact that she beat a guy. She only lost I think by like a second to the winner, so she was right there in the pack with everyone else. What I think is so cool, I feel like when they talk about the difference between men’s and women’s hockey, it’s usually one of the first things that comes to mind, besides the hitting, is that the speed of the game is slower. Well, by my wife doing that, you can’t argue that anymore. She’s keeping up with the fastest of the fastest in the NHL.”
How Coyne Schofield ended up taking part in the event is also quite the story.
She was initially invited out with three other women to showcase the competitions prior to the men hitting the ice. Coyne Schofield was supposed to showcase the most accurate shooter event, but after being encouraged to time herself on a lap just for kicks on Thursday, she blew away all expectations. Then, on Friday, the NHL invited her to compete that night to replace injured Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon.
“One guy on Thursday was like, ‘Hey, you should try the speed, just to see how you’re going to do,’” Schofield explained. “And she’s like, ‘OK, sure.’ Then she goes and posts a time of, I think, 14.2, and the guys are like, ‘Woah!’ They were very impressed with it. So, they start talking to the higher-ups in the NHL and they had to go through a lot of people and everything. But on Friday, she gets a call around noon or something and found out she’s doing it. Literally, she had to go right to the rink and pretty much warm up and go. It was crazy. It just happened so fast, all because a guy was like, ‘Hey you should just try this, see how it goes.’”
Schofield was on hand when his wife won the Gold Medal for Team USA in the Olympics last year, which is a moment the couple will never forget.
However, her history-making moment last Friday ranks up there right alongside it.
“This is probably definitely one of the top (moments) for us,” he said. “This is history and breaking barriers for women in sports. It’s up there with everything.”