Before stepping onto the ice at the United Center, Billie Jean King had never played hockey. In fact, the tennis legend hadn’t even picked up a stick before.
But after the 75-year-old’s performance in a shoot-the-puck challenge during Friday’s Blackhawks-Blue Jackets contest, she proved to already be better at the sport than most.
“This is hilarious,” King said in the extended version of the moment released on NHL.com as she strolled onto the ice with Kendall Coyne Schofield, a member of Team USA.
With thousands of eyes on her, the lights low and very little room for error, the 39-time Grand Slam winner rose to the occasion and shone during her final attempt.
With the ice rough following 20 minutes of NHL action, King’s shot had just enough power to get to the net and slide through one of the board’s three small holes.
“Yes!” she yelled after the puck went across the line and the crowd erupted.
“I’ve never played hockey because I grew up in southern California before we even had the Kings and (this was) the first time I’ve ever been on the ice, but it was so much fun,” King said afterwards. “The first two I hit... I wasn’t giving it enough. I was hooking it and I was not even close. And so the third one, I thought ‘okay, the gig’s up.’”
The shot won her a free trip with United Airlines.
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