But the women’s tournament? Well, for the first time since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the United States Women’s National Team has the chance to repeat back-to-back gold medals. In the history of women’s hockey at the Olympic Games, only 2 nations have won gold. United States in ’98, Canada in ’02, ’06, ’10 and ’14. Then the United States again in South Korea ’18.
The same goes for the world championships, which have been held since 1990. Canada won gold at the first 8 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships (1990-2004), then won gold in 3 other tournaments since. The latest being a gold medal at the 2021 World Championship in overtime against the United States. The United States won 9 gold medals at the World Championships, including 5 consecutive from 2013 to 2019. The only major international tournaments that did not end with a clash between the United States and Canada in the final were the 2006 Olympics with Sweden winning silver and the 2019 World Championships with Finland taking silver. So it’s very likely that the road to rehearsal will go through Canada again, and this is the team that will.
This list includes 13 Olympic gold medalists, 15 Olympic silver medalists, 8 players making their Olympic debuts, a ton of NCAA national champions and 4 Patty Kazmaier award winners (Brianna Decker ’12, Amanda Kessel ’13, Alex Carpenter ’15, Kendall Coyne Schofield ’16) as the top NCAA female hockey player in the country. In other words …
Obviously, the headliners of the front group will be the veterans. Hilary Knight now competing in her 4th Olympics, making her the 4th American player to do so. She was part of 8 of 9 American teams to win a gold medal at the World Championships. She was the MVP of the 2015 World Championships, the top goalscorer and points scorer at the 2019 World Championships, and is now somewhat of the oldest player on the list. Then you have Amanda kessel, Brianna decker and Kendall Coyne Schofield were all playing at their 3rd Olympics.
First off, Kendall Coyne can fly. She will quite possibly be the fastest player within 1,000 miles of Beijing at these Olympics, and that includes all speed skaters. She was the top striker at the 2019 World Championships and also collected the most points at the 2017 World Championships. Weapon.
There would be another striker who would make his 3rd Olympic roster, but Alex Charpentier was excluded from the squad in 2018 after winning a silver medal in 2014.
She was the best player in college hockey in 2015. Won gold at the World Championships in ’13, ’15, ’16, ’17 and ’19. But after being excluded from the 2018 Olympic team, Carpenter played in China with the Kunlun Red Star women’s team in the Russian league. She has collected the most points in this league over the past 2 seasons and plays with Megan Bozek who was also excluded from the 2018 Olympic roster after winning the silver medal at the 2014 Olympics. So these are 2 players who were on the 2014 list, who were eliminated in 2018, played in China over the past two seasons and now have a chance to finally get their gold medal in China this year. I would expect both of these players to be capital “B” letters buzzing this tournament.
With Bozek on the blue line, Lee stecklein will make his 3rd Olympic appearance.
She has just been named best defender at the 2021 World Championship where she collected 7 points in 7 games. She will be the most experienced player on the blue line, but the youngest player on the team will be Caroline harvey. She’s supposed to be in Wisconsin right now, but after making the national team for the 2021 IIHF World Championship at the age of 18, Harvey spent the last few months playing in North American Hockey. Academy, which is essentially the equivalent major junior for women’s hockey.
Harvey will be the youngest player on the team this time around. At the last Olympic Games it was Cayla barnes who won a gold medal at the age of 19.
Imagine winning 2 Olympic gold medals at 23? It must be nice.
And then between the pipes that’s all Maddie rooney.
She led the United States to gold in 2018, led the United States to a gold at the World Championships in 2019, then missed the 2021 World Championships after injuring herself during camp training. So if you think about it, the United States has never lost a major international tournament when Maddie Rooney started in goal. Bad, bad news for Canadians this time around.
So this is it. The puck falls in a month from today. And just weeks later, we’ll be watching the United States National Women’s Hockey Team skate around the ice with gold medals draped around their necks for the 2nd tournament in a row. Because USA Hockey is do or die.
Now give me one more Jocelyne Lamoureux for good measure.