SOCHI, Russia – Before departing for the Olympics, the U.S. women’s hockey team received a few visitors at their training facility in Bedford, Mass.
Members of Team USA’s 1998 gold-medal team stopped by to share stories and words of encouragement.
“They just wanted to tell us that there’s something special about our team and that’s the way they felt in ’98,” forward Kelli Stack said. “We want to bring a gold medal back to the States because it’s been so long.”
Team USA remains a powerhouse in women’s international hockey, but the Americans haven’t won a gold medal since that debut Olympic tournament in Nagano in ’98. Canada has won three consecutive gold medals since then, including a victory against the U.S. in Vancouver in 2010.
The disappointment of that defeat still lingers inside the 11 current members of the American squad that skated off the ice with a silver medal.
“That’s something that’s driven us the last four years and really motivated us,” forward Monique Lamoureux said. “That feeling of coming up short doesn’t fade over time. It really sticks with us.”
Team USA is determined to write a different script when it meets its archrival Canada in the gold-medal game again this morning. The Canadians defeated the U.S. 3-2 in the preliminary round in these Games.
The Americans were frustrated with their performance in that game, saying they lacked their usual aggressiveness. They wanted this rematch to prove that they’re a better team than what they showed the first time.
“We’re just a fast, young, resilient, strong team,” forward Hilary Knight said. “We’ve got a lot of skill. I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Everyone should be, too, because these two teams are heavyweights in women’s hockey.