ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–The IceHogs will take all the help they can get during their push to make the playoffs. Wednesday, they got some extra help from their very special developmental coach Kendall Coyne Schofield.

Schofield was on the ice the entire practice working with the guys. She then stayed on a good 15 minutes after the practice providing extra instruction to a couple players. It’s what she does. It’s what she loves.

“There’s nothing better than being on the ice, being with the guys, talking about things in real time and passing the puck. Doing little things and being on the ice is what I love.”

Coyne Schofield has spent her entire life on the ice primarily as a player. With the U.S. Women’s National Team she’s won six gold medals in the World Championships, and she’s been a part of three Olympic hockey teams including the one that competed in February in Beijing. At age 29 she could continue playing for several more seasons. I asked her how much longer she plans to continue playing.

“I don’t know yet. We’re just coming off the Olympics, so I’m taking some time, back in the weight room, on the ice, so just trying to take it day-by-day.”

She could be at this coaching thing for a long time. It’s working out well so far since the Blackhawks brought her on board in 2020.

“These guys view me as another one of their coaches. I may be the only one with a ponytail on the ice, but they don’t care. They want to ask questions. They want to work on things afterwards, and I think there’s that level of respect. They know what I’ve done in this game, and I know what they’ve done.”

“She’s been fantastic from day one,” said IceHogs President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Mark Bernard. “She demands respect out there. She knows her stuff inside and out.”

Coyne Schofield has been an inspiration for girls and young women with her accomplishments on the National Team, and in the 2019 NHL All-Star festivities when she competed against the men in the fastest skater competition. Now she’s showing that women have a place coaching in NHL organizations.

Earlier this year her book “As Fast as Her” came out encouraging girls to dream big. She loves knowing she can have a great influence on girls and young women.

“It means everything. I had a lot of role models when I was a kid, and that’s why I’m in the role that I am today, because I saw them do it, and I said, Oh, maybe I can do it too one day.”

So how far away are we from seeing a female head coach in the NHL?

“I don’t know. I don’t think too far. We’ll see. I think the league has embraced a lot of women who are highly successful in the game, and they value them for the success that they’ve had and the hockey mind that they have, and they see that they can be an asset to the organization. You see a lot of women being hired around the league which is awesome to see.”

Just maybe that first female NHL head coach will be Kendall Coyne Schofield.