As the United States looks to claim their first gold medal in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Games since 1998, the player who shall occupy the captaincy is Meghan Duggan. Following in the proud tradition of Cammi Granato, Krissy Wendell and Natalie Darwitz, Duggan becomes the fourth player to serve as the US captain in Winter Games history. A member of the US National Team since 2007, the native of Danvers, Mass. boasts a remarkable hockey resume.
Having been part of the Clarkson Cup championship team with the Boston Blades in 2013, along with a gold medal at the IIHF Women’s Worlds in Ottawa, the captaincy is another remarkable accomplishment in a storied career. From winning the Bob Allen Award for the Best Women’s Player in USA Hockey to the Patty Kazmaier Award as a senior at Wisconsin, she has assembled a list of awards and honors that are Hall of Fame worthy.
In late October, she would get the opportunity to take part in the US Olympic Committee’s 100 Days to Sochi celebrations at Times Square in New York City. Along with Julie Chu and Hilary Knight (who could have both been captain), the titanic trio provided an ice hockey demonstration for jubilant fans.
Since gaining the captaincy, Duggan has encountered a slight bump in the road to Sochi. Debuting at the Four Nations Cup as team captain, the defending gold medal champions did not meet expectation. While the bronze medal at the 2013 Four Nations Cup was far from the desired outcome, the game that truly counts shall be the gold medal game at Sochi.
Should Duggan lead the US to gold, it shall provide her with membership into a very rare hockey club; the Triple Gold Club for Women. Consisting of the Clarkson Cup, IIHF World Gold and Winter Games Gold, she would become the second American woman to gain entry (the first was Jenny Potter). In addition, Duggan has also won an NCAA Frozen Four title (like Potter), which would give her the American Grand Slam in women’s hockey. If Knight qualifies for the final US roster, a gold medal would also provide her with the Grand Slam.
Although competition from an always difficult Canadian squad and highly ambitious squads from Finland and Russia shall make the gold medal a hard-earned one, it is difficult to doubt Duggan. From championships in the CWHL, IIHF and NCAA, she is a proven winner and a remarkable leader. With aspirations to one day become a doctor after her playing days, the Winter Games gold medal is the final piece of the puzzle in defining more than just a hockey hero but a positive influence for young women in sport.