Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne Schofield Headline Group of Chicago Area Olympic Hockey Stars


With the start of the Olympics just days away in Beijing, the United States’ women’s hockey team is aiming to capture a second consecutive gold medal, and they will do so with numerous players with deep ties to the Chicago area.

Two of those players are not only going for a second consecutive victory in the tournament, but are also among the biggest stars that the American squad has to offer.

The first is Kendall Coyne Schofield, who was on the gold medal-winning squad that defeated Canada in dramatic fashion to capture the top prize in PyeongChang. Coyne Schofield, a Palos Heights-native who is currently working with the Chicago Blackhawks, scored a pair of goals and registered an assist during the 2018 tournament, and will be looking to add a third medal to her trophy case.

“As an Olympian and as a Paralympian, it’s your whole life,” she said. “A lot of people think it’s every four years, but it’s every day, it’s your whole life that you’ve worked for this moment.”

Hilary Knight, who was raised in suburban Lake Forest, is an even more decorated Olympian, participating in her fourth consecutive Games in Beijing, and she says putting on the red, white and blue is one of the most important things she’s ever done in her hockey career.

Knight has scored six goals in 15 Olympic games, and has 11 assists in those contests. She scored a pair of goals during the 2018 gold medal run in PyeongChang, and is hoping to help the United States to capture a second straight title in the event for the first time in team history.

“When I’m on the ice, I’m not just representing myself. It’s definitely a part of something bigger than myself,” she said.

Coyne Schofield and Knight will be assisted by four other players with Chicago ties, a list headlined by Buffalo Grove’s Megan Bozek.

Bozek was on the 2014 team that took silver in Sochi, but she did not play in the 2018 Olympics after being cut from the roster. Now, after seeing her teammates wind gold in the last Games, Bozek will be hoping to build on an incredible international career.

Three first-time Olympians also hail from the Chicago area, including Savannah Harmon, a 26-year-old from Downers Grove. The two-time NCAA champion played for the United States in the 2021 Women’s World Championships, picking up an assist in six games for the silver medal-winning squad.

Abbey Murphy, who grew up in Evergreen Park, has made an immediate splash on the international stage in her young career, as the 19-year-old scored a pair of goals during the 2021 World Championships. She has appeared in 15 total games in three Under-18 World Junior Championship tournaments, with 10 goals and three assists in those games.

Northbrook-native Jesse Compher will also be competing for the first time on the Olympic stage. She has appeared in the last two World Championships for the American squad, with a goal and three assists in 12 games, and she has a pair of gold medals in World Junior Championship competition for the U.S. side.

The United States will officially drop the puck on its gold medal defense on Thursday when they take on Finland in the first game of preliminary group play. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:10 a.m., and the contest will air on USA Network and the NBC Olympic Channel.

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