When the Beveridge family of Concord, Mass. bid adieu to Kendall Coyne on Dec. 10, they didn’t know if they would have to console her or congratulate her the next time they saw her.
“I would eventually come back if I didn’t make the team; I would have to get all my belongings,” said Coyne, a Northeastern University hockey player who started living with the Beveridge family in August while competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Team in nearby Bedford, Mass.
The Beveridges got their answer on Jan. 1 when Coyne and her 20 U.S. Olympic teammates were introduced during an intermission at the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
A few days later, when the 21-year-old forward pulled up to the Beveridge’s driveway for the first time after making the team, the family’s 6- and 8-year-old children were waiting for her under a giant American flag.
“It was so cute,” Coyne said. “It’s an amazing feeling to know all the hard work is paying off, yet we still have 35 days to go. These are the 35 days we need to buckle down and be ready to go in February.”
Living with the family for so long, Coyne has developed an emotional bond with them.
“Oh it definitely helps you mentally and physically when you’re training this hard and you know you have somewhere that feels like home and a place you feel comfortable talking,” she said. “I love the kids. The kids are awesome.”
While the team was announced to the public on New Year’s Day, Coyne and the rest of the team learned the roster about a week and a half before. Coyne couldn’t help tell her parents and siblings when she went home to Palos Heights, Ill. for Christmas.
And on one of the final days of Christmas break, Coyne’s family had a surprise of their own for her: They booked travel accommodations to Sochi, Russia, to watch her play in the Olympics.
“That was pretty special,” Coyne said. “My mom was talking to a travel agent, I don’t know … ”
After getting that great news, Coyne was off to Toronto for Team USA's final pre-Olympic game against Canada and then to Ann Arbor, Mich. for the Winter Classic, where the Chicago sports fan had a difficult time choosing a side to root for as the Toronto Maple Leaf’s ultimately defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout.
“That was the tough part,” she said of picking an allegiance. “A lot of us where cheering for Detroit and a lot of people were getting Detroit hats. I wanted one so bad, but it’s against Blackhawk policy. I was back and forth rooting for the Red Wings just because there were so many Canadian fans there and I was trying to root for the American team.”
Coyne ultimately pushed into Detroit’s corner for good after the Canadian fans started chanting “silver, silver” when Team USA was announced — a reference to Team USA’s loss to Canada in the gold-medal game in Vancouver four years ago.
“That’s when I wanted Detroit to win,” Coyne said.
Coyne actually failed to make the 2010 Olympic Team but bounced back by earning a spot on the senior national team for three consecutive world championships after that. However, she said she still has a hard time believing she’s going to the Olympics this time around.
“The three world championships made me feel more comfortable, but most people who know me know I’m a nervous person, so my nerves have been flying since my name was called,” she said when asked about what it means to make the team. “I just got chills when you said that. It’s hard to put into words.
“This is the dream. To have an opportunity to live out your dream and represent your country, I’m just so blessed to be from America and to represent America. And playing the sport I love is amazing.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.