Blackhawks make Kendall Coyne Schofield the team’s first female player development coach
The Hawks also hired Erik Condra and Juan Gonzalez and promoted Meghan Hunter.
As a player, Kendall Coyne Schofield already has reached the pinnacle of her career.
But as a coach, her journey officially has just begun.
On Monday, the Blackhawks made Coyne Schofield the franchise’s first female player development coach, headlining several additions to the front office.
The team also hired retired NHL forward Erik Condra as another player development coach and Juan Gonzalez as the Rockford IceHogs’ strength and conditioning coach and promoted Meghan Hunter to director of hockey administration.
Coyne Schofield, 28, a Palos Heights native and six-time world champion with the U.S. women’s national team, started with the Hawks as a media-relations intern in 2014.
More recently, she had served as a community-relations liaison for the Hawks — running an all-girls youth hockey program in Chicago known as the “Golden Coynes,” which will continue despite her new position — and had tried her hand at broadcasting.
“I’ve spoken to so many of my now-teammates with the Blackhawks and said it finally feels real,” she said Monday. “It was organic in the way that it happened, and I knew I could be an asset in player development. I knew I wanted to get my feet wet, and I knew I could help this team.”
Coyne Schofield said her duties will be diverse, helping to train, coach and advise players at various levels of the organization on and off the ice. She’ll spend the most time with the IceHogs.
But she’ll also remain an active player with the women’s national team, which will seek to defend its 2018 Olympic gold medal in 2022. She sees that duality of roles as an advantage.
“There are going to be some funny moments,’’ she said. ‘‘Maybe if I’m telling a player, ‘Do this,’ then he watches me play and he says, ‘You told me not to do that, and you just did it!’ But I’m still a player, so I’m still in the same shoes that they walk every day. But at the same time, I’m fulfilling that role as their player development coach, which will help them get to the next level.”
Condra, 34, played 372 games as a forward for the Senators, Lightning and Stars from 2010 to 2019, retiring from pro hockey just this year.
A Michigan native, Condra will join Coyne Schofield as well as fellow ex-NHL players Mark Eaton, Brian Campbell, Yanic Perreault and Chris Kunitz in the Hawks’ development coaching tree.
Gonzalez worked as a strength and conditioning adviser for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
“Adding talented people with diverse and multifaceted backgrounds like Kendall, Erik and Juan enhances our operations as we assess the changing landscape of hockey at all levels,” general manager Stan Bowman said.
Hunter, an Ontario native and former University of Wisconsin star, previously served as Bowman’s senior assistant. In addition to her new director post, she’ll also help with amateur scouting.
Coyne Schofield’s hiring and Hunter’s promotion come a week after MLB’s Marlins made Kim Ng the first female general manager in the history of the four major North American pro sports leagues.
“There are a lot of young girls in this area and beyond that are looking at this and saying, ‘Wait, I can do that, too?’ ” Coyne Schofield said.