Hockey Night in Canada

Olympic gold medallist Coyne Schofield defends Pierre McGuire over cringe-worthy exchange

NBCSN hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was the target of social media backlash during and after his interview with Kendall Coyne Schofield on Wednesday during the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. However, Coyne Schofield came to McGuire’s defence on Thursday in a lengthy Twitter post.

But adds: 'If I saw a man say this to a woman athlete, I would have been offended'

Hockey analyst Pierre McGuire, left, and U.S. women's hockey gold medallist Kendall Coyne Schofield, right, are shown during a pre-game show before the Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. (Charles LeClaire/Reuters)

NBCSN hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was the target of social media backlash during and after his interview with Kendall Coyne Schofield on Wednesday during the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.

It stemmed from McGuire's need to "mansplain" the sport of hockey to the Olympic gold medallist.

WATCH | Pierre McGuire mansplains to Kendall Coyne Schofield:

Things got awkward when NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire introduced Olympic gold medallist Kendall Coyne Schofield in her broadcasting debut. 0:50

However, Coyne Schofield came to McGuire's defence on Thursday in a lengthy Twitter post. 

"I know he respects me as a hockey player, a woman, and a friend and that's why I didn't think twice about our on-air exchange when it happened." 

Still, Coyne Schofield adds that, "If I were watching it at home and saw a man say this to a woman athlete, I would have been offended."

McGuire acknowledged the backlash on Thursday, saying in a statement: "At times my excitement got the better of me and I should have chosen my words better."

People on Twitter bashed McGuire's remarks and even questioned who should really be explaining the sport.

It didn't stop there. When McGuire compared the energy of the game to a Canada vs. USA Olympic matchup, Coyne Schofield said the only difference was that she wore a cage. McGuire continued to make viewers uncomfortable when he replied by saying, "I'll be your cage tonight, how about that." 

Coyne Schofield and compatriot Brianna Decker, along with Canadian players Rebecca Johnston and Renata Fast, became the first women ever to compete alongside the NHL stars during the league's recent all-star weekend.

Coyne Schofield and Decker made the biggest splash in separate events. During the fastest skater competition, Coyne Schofield raced around the rink in a time competitive with the top skaters in the men's game in a barrier-breaking moment for women's hockey. Coyne Schofield came within a second of Edmonton's Connor McDavid, who won the event.

Decker then took to the ice for the passing challenger, where she was initially thought to have been clocked at one minute six seconds by fans on social media — about three seconds faster than eventual winner Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers. It was reported later that the NHL went back to check Decker's time and found that it was "around 1:12-13." However, that time still would have beaten several other male competitors.

Despite some of the positive strides that were made during all-star weekend, some fans think the NHL still has a long way to go in terms of respecting females in the sport.

WATCH | Kendall Coyne Schofield makes history at NHL Skills Competition:

The American made history on Friday by becoming the 1st female to compete in the NHL's Skills Competition when she raced around the ice in the Faster Skater competition. 1:11

Other fans also pointed out the inappropriate way McGuire approached Coyne Schofield for an interview after the skills challenge.

Coyne Schofield was able to break some of the gender barriers Wednesday night, but unfortunately there were some uncomfortable and cringe-worthy moments along the way. Still, one NHL team is hopeful there will be more opportunities for women.