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Blackhawks coach breaking gender barriers on and off the ice

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"I know it's my responsibility to make sure that there's young girls that see me, and they know they can do what I'm doing and do more."

Video Transcript

DIONNE MILLER: And Judy, in breaking gender barriers on the tennis court, Billie Jean King always said, you have to see it to be it. Kendall Coyne Schofield not only sees it. She is it as a forward for Team USA. She is one of hockey's most decorated athletes. Now, she is determined to continue to break barriers on and off the ice, pushing open doors that have been closed far too long.

- Kendall, sitck it in. She scores.

KENDALL COYNE SCHOFIELD: My start in hockey was surrounded by all boys. It was constantly boys. It was-- and when I was really young and just starting, I didn't realize it. I was playing the same game they were. I wanted to be on the same ice they were.

I didn't really-- I didn't notice anything. It was just we were hockey players. We were playing the game that we love.

- But as Kendall Coyne Schofield got older, it didn't take long to realize her playing career had a ceiling for only one reason.

KENDALL COYNE SCHOFIELD: Because we're women. That's the only reason I have. It's been-- you know, I think about all the women who came before me. Phenomenal, phenomenal hockey players. A lot of them, my heroes, my idols, the reason I play this game. And I think, why didn't they have that opportunity? Why is that opportunity still not in existence? It's mind boggling to me, but I know that since we don't have a professional league, it's my job to wake up every day and help fight for one.

- Coyne Schofield is fighting as part of the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, 125 of the world's best players, advocating for what's been missing on the women's side of the ice.

KENDALL COYNE SCHOFIELD: When you look at the landscape of women's hockey, the product that has been put on the ice over the last 20 years has been amazing given the lack of resources that players have to be successful. You're asking full time moms. You're asking full time nurses, and teachers, and coaches to go do and replicate what we see on the men's side every single day. And players don't complain. They fight silently in the background to make sure that the young girls we work with every day don't have to live that life.

So they're going to put it right under there for you, OK? So that it's just the right size of you.

- Last November, Kendall joined the Blackhawks coaching staff as the first female player development coach and youth hockey growth specialist, giving her, yet, another outlet to push open doors for the next generation.

KENDALL COYNE SCHOFIELD: And I always go back to think about the women who didn't have the opportunities that I had, going back to that one reason, because it's their gender. So I know it's my responsibility to make sure that there's young girls who see me and know they can do what I'm doing and do more.

- She is quite the role model. Now, Kendall recognizes there are girls programs for sports across the board, including in hockey, but her argument is lack of equal investment. So she put her money where her mouth is and recently became an investor in the Red Stars, our city's National Women's Soccer team, giving her, yet, another platform to practice what she preaches.