Kendall Coyne was chosen as Team USA's Player of the Game in the final game of the 4 Nations Cup in 2012. She scored the winning goal in the first period. Below is an interview with her about her first year at Northeastern University.
Interview Nov 2011.
Elizabeth Etue:You have just started with Northeastern University; why did you choose this college?
Kendall Coyne: I really wanted to be in Boston and I liked the 5-year program Northeastern offers. As for the coaching staff, Coach Flint, Witt, and Lundrigan had everything I wanted in a staff. They are all passionate about hockey and that is contagious.
EE: How have your first few games gone? Describe one highlight?
KC: Our first few games have gone well. We dropped a game to Princeton last weekend. A highlight would be our last home game against Quinnipiac University. We were down in the game 1-0 and we came back and won 3-1. I think our team is going to be in a lot of situations like this this year and we are going to be a team that is never going to give up until the clock hits zero
EE: How does college competition compare with international games?
KC: College competition is not as physical as international competition. I have received a lot of penalties thus far. I feel there are very soft calls made when internationally they tend to let more go.
EE: You have also played with a boy’s team, Mission; they tend to be faster; will you miss playing at that level?
KC: I absolutely miss playing with them. This will be the first year of my hockey career not practicing with boys. When I was not big enough to keep up with the boy’s game, I would practice with the boys three days a week. This is the first year that it is strictly girl’s hockey. If it were not for the boys, I would not be the player I was today.
EE: Why didn't you make the 2010 Olympic roster?
KC: I feel I did not make the roster because I was not strong enough and was not good enough to make the team at the age of 17. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the camp, and I had a positive experience.
EE: You have been very successful in high school hockey and Under 18. Would you comment on the transition to playing on the senior national team and how you are managing it so far.
KC: The transition from the Under-18 program to the senior team was a very hard transition. The pre-worlds camp March-April 2011 was the hardest camp. It really challenged us as players and tested us whether or not we wanted to make that team. The camp was a battle but still fun. With the Under-18 program we never had a particular camp two weeks before the tournament and that’s where they pick the team. The players on the senior team are so welcoming and will help you with anything you need.
EE: You did very well with the senior US team at 2011 worlds; how did the competition compare with the Under 18 worlds
KC: The competition was obviously faster at the senior level. While playing with the Under-18’s, the competition is faster than any youth hockey game I played in. Making the transition to the senior team while still playing in high school, it was a big jump. The level is faster; the players are stronger and bigger then U-18s. It was a great experience at the world championships in 2011 because I look up to so many players on the US team, being able to play with them is a humbling experience.
EE: Did you do anything different or adjust your game in the preceding year?
KC: No, I didn’t change much. I did a postgraduate year at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts. I always made sure I was pushing myself on the ice and in the weight room day by day.
EE: You had four goals and two assists for six points in Team USA's five tournament games at the world championship in 2011. How did you manage to do so well being the youngest player on the team?
KC: Nothing is possible without my teammates.
EE: You have played on a very fast line with Decker and Knight; talk about the advantages of playing with these teammates?
KC: Playing on any line with Team USA is a humbling experience. Playing with Decker and Knight was so much fun. The experience “Knighter” brings to the table and still being so young, you just watch her and can’t believe some of the things she can do on the ice. “Decks” is hands down one of the best centers in the world and to be on the same line as her is again a humbling experience.
EE: You are heading to Sweden in November 9-13 for 4 Nations Cup with the senior team again.
What are you focusing on?
KC: Obviously the ultimate goal is to win especially coming up short in an overtime thriller last year. As for a particular emphasis, we want to continue to get better and become a close team to help us reach that common goal.
EE: You get this question a lot I am sure but you have to be very strong given your height and weight. What do you do to keep yourself competitive in a game where you are one of the smaller players?
KC: Yes I do get this question a lot. I have to be deceptive and strong on my stick given my height and weight. I don’t think size really affects me as much playing girl’s hockey where there is no hitting. There are times where I could use a few inches, but I think I can use my speed to cover for my size.
EE: You had a wrist injury; are you fully recovered?
KC: Yes, we all have our bumps and bruises during our playing careers, but I am cleared to play and ready to go for the tournament.
EE: What is your priority this season for both college and international hockey?
My priority for this season for both college and international hockey is to stay healthy and fresh. I want to try and become the best player I can be.