To honor our Mass natives selected to represent the United States on the men's and women's hockey teams, we sat down with each of them for a fun and light Q&A series that will lead you up and through the Games.
So iron out our Team USA jersey, ready your flags and perfect your U-S-A chant, and don't forget to include these Q&As in your Olympic preparation.
Hear what gold-medal winning and Team USA captain Meghan Duggan has to say:
MH: What youth town/club program did you grow up playing in?
MD: Danvers Youth Hockey
Mass. Hockey: Talk about the growth you have seen for the girls and women's game nationally, and here in Massachusetts. For example, the East Coast Wizards are hosting the USA Hockey National Tournament in Marlborough this spring.
Meghan Duggan: The growth of girls/women’s hockey in MA and nationwide has been tremendous over the last few years. I love seeing so many Girls Youth Organizations popping up everywhere, supporting the growing interest of female players. The directors, coaches, volunteers, etc within those organizations do a tremendous job working tirelessly to promote and grow the women’s game and it shows! I’m proud to be an ambassador for girl's/women's hockey as well as an ambassador for girl's/women's hockey in Mass!
MH: Why do you think Massachusetts continues to churn out Olympic and elite players year after year?
MD: Massachusetts often prides itself on a blue collar, hard-working, passionate mentality — that’s the root of what it takes to be an elite athlete. As Mass natives, it’s in our blood!
MH: Why do you think so many elite females hail from our great state? Is it just in the water?
MD: It must be in the water ;)
MH: What makes Massachusetts Hockey so special?
MD: The communities in Massachusetts love hockey and welcome hockey players, parents, coaches, staff, etc., with open arms! And everyone in the entire state has always been so supportive me and my Olympic journey, for that I am forever proud and grateful of Massachusetts!
MH: What are you looking forward to most about the Olympics?
MD: Having the opportunity, alongside my amazing teammates, to represent our country on the world stage at such a powerful event. Bringing pride to our hometowns, home states, and home country!
MH: What advice would you give youth players in Massachusetts and across the country about how to become an Olympian?
MD: It certainly takes a lot of hard work, sacrifices, and determination along the way but the biggest thing is NEVER lose sight of the enjoyment of the game! Don’t play for your parents, friends, coaches, scouts, etc., play because you have a burning fire in your heart to skate, compete, and reach your goals!
MH: What is are some of your favorite memories from youth hockey?
MD: Having my coach tape my helmet over my ears because they were SO cold at the Sunday morning 6am practice in East Boston in the middle of January. Getting Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins & hot chocolate with my mom/dad after those early morning practices. Winning the District tournament (getting the pullover jackets) or the Mini 1-on-1 tournament.
MH: What rink did you grow up playing at? Or did you prefer skating outdoors?
MD: Have to give a shout out to the two rinks I skated most at probably when I was growing up, Hockeytown in Saugus, Mass., and James McVann-Louis O'Keefe Memorial Rink in Peabody, Mass. Both of them bring me right back anytime I have had the opportunity to return and I credit both rinks with MANY hours of practice/games in my younger days! (Skating on “the meadows” or at the "Jimmy Hayes" outdoor rink in Danvers, Mass., was always a special treat each winter as well!)