Vancouver 2010: Meet the USA Women's Hockey Team
Fresh off a 12-1 victory over China in their first game in Vancouver, the USA women's hockey team is off to a good start.
Before the Games even began, I predicted that USA would be playing in the Gold Medal Game against the host country Canada.
Those two countries have always been the standard for women's hockey, and expect them to put on a show in the next two weeks.
For USA, given their coach—1980 Lake Placid hero Mark Johnson—I expect them to give nothing but their very best.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, so Team USA has history on its side.
13 of the 21 USA players are making their Olympic debuts, while two players first appeared on the team in 1998, the last time Team USA won gold.
Let's meet the women who could be once again standing atop the medal stand come the end of these 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Coach: Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson scored two goals in the men's historic victory over the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, and hasn't left hockey since.
He played in 669 games in the NHL from 1979-1990, scoring 203 goals and getting 205 assists.
After that, Johnson eventually returned to his alma mater—University of Wisconsin—and was the assistant coach for the men's hockey team from 1996-2002, then accepted the job for the head coach of the women's team at Madison.
In his first seven years at Wisconsin, Johnson has led his team to a 210-39-22 record, including 135 wins in the last four years, the most by any NCAA program during that span.
His team has won at least 29 games in each of the last four years, something no other program has done either.
The Badgers have won three National Championships in the last four years as well, in 2006, 2007, and 2009. Johnson has taken this year off from Wisconsin as he trained for Vancouver.
It is for that reason, seven Badgers players—five former and two current players—have found their way onto the 2010 Olympic roster.
Basic Info: 5-8, 174lbs., from Providence, RI; 22 years old
Bellamy graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2009 and competed with Team USA during the '08 and '09 World Games.
After her playing career is over, she would like to coach hockey.
Bellamy is making her Olympic debut.
Basic Info: 5-4, 156lbs., from Branford, CT; 24 years old
Cahow was with the team when they took bronze in Turin in 2006, and she attended Harvard University.
During her senior season at Harvard, she scored 37 points in 34 games, and plans to apply to law school when she is finished playing hockey.
Cahow also played lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey while in high school.
Basic Info: 5-6, 152lbs., from Plainfield, IL; 23 years old
Chesson is making her Olympic debut, but competed with the team in the 2009 World Games.
She attends Ohio State University, and chose the Buckeyes for their hockey and meteorology programs.
Chesson plans to return to OSU after the games and finish her degree.
Her parents wanted her to go into figure skating, but she wanted to play hockey instead, and has played on several boys teams, like many of her USA teammates.
Basic Info: 5-8, 147lbs., from Fairfield, CT; 27 years old
Chu is playing in her third Olympic Games, taking bronze in '06 and silver in '02.
While at Harvard, she set school records for points (284) and assists (196), and would like to be a teacher when her playing days are done.
Before the Salt Lake City games in 2002, Chu's family members made a bet with her, that if she made the team, they would get tattoos of the Olympic rings.
They held their end of the bargain, and Chu also has a tattoo on the top of her foot.
Basic Info: 5-3, 135lbs., from Eagan, MN; 26 years old
Darwitz was also a member of the '02 and '06 team, and became the youngest member of Team USA in 1999 when she was just 15 years old.
She played high school varsity hockey when she was still in the seventh grade and had 170 goals to her name before she even hit high school herself.
At the University of Minnesota, Darwitz has records in points (246) and assists (144), and graduated in 2007 with a major in business.
Basic Info: 5-9, 164lbs., from Danvers, MA; 22 years old
Duggan is one of the current Badgers on this team under Johnson, where she helped win two National Championships for Wisconsin
She always wanted to be on the Olympic team, and is making her Olympic debut in Vancouver.
Duggan is very good friends with teammate Erika Lawler, and has pretty much followed Lawler wherever she has gone in her career.
Basic Info: 5-9, 178lbs., from Siren, WI; 26 years old
Engstrom is a former Badger and one of two true Wisconsinites on Team USA, and was with the team in 2006.
She was a teammate of Canada's Carla MacLeod at Wisconsin, where MacLeod was captain and Engstrom assistant captain.
Engstrom is a self-proclaimed tree-hugger, who also competed in golf and track in high school, where she won the Wisconsin State discus title as a sophomore.
Basic Info: 5-10, 172lbs., from Hanover, NH; 20 years old
Knight is the other current Wisconsin player, with Duggan, and is also making her Olympic debut.
Because Knight is one of the younger players, she often seeks advice from the older players.
She actually started out skiing at the age of two, but was a heavily recruited hockey player out of high school, which allowed her to pretty much go wherever she wanted.
Knight wanted to play for a great coach, and even though she didn't exactly know who Mark Johnson was at the time, she chose Wisconsin.
She also played lacrosse and field hockey in high school.
Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux
Basic Info: Jocelyne 5-6, 168lbs.; Monique 5-6, 156lbs., from Grand Forks, ND; 20 years old
The Lamoureux twins are making their Olympic debut and come from a true hockey family, where all their siblings play some level of hockey.
They played at Minnesota during their freshmen years, but transferred to North Dakota amid a coaching change.
Jocelyne and Monique have been highly touted since high school and could become two of the greatest female hockey players.
The Lamoureux's are taking online classes—even with their heavy workload—to remain academically eligible to play at North Dakota.
Basic Info: 5-0, 130lbs., from Fitchburg, MA; 22 years old
Lawler is making her Olympic debut, and was a captain her senior year at Wisconsin under Johnson.
Her 44 assists her senior year was best in the NCAA, and Lawler ranks third in Badger career scoring with 174 points.
Lawler is listed at 5' even, although she might even be shorter than that, but she does not let the size stop her as she stays a fierce competitor.
Basic Info: 5-8, 166 lbs., from Warroad, MN; 22 years old
Marvin is also making her Olympic debut, and she learned to skate when she was just two years old.
She is sixth on the all-time scoring list at Minnesota, and has dreamed of being on Team USA ever since she saw the 1998 Games.
She is a die-hard fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Wild, and her dream job would to be a co-anchor on ESPN.
Basic Info: 5-8, 130lbs., from Sheffield Village, OH; 22 years old
McLaughlin is one of three goaltenders on the team, as she backs up starter Jessie Vetter.
She began her career in front of the net when she was little, as her older brothers would always take shots on her.
McLaughlin attends Robert Morris and has the school record for saves (3,809). She plans to graduate from RMU in 2011 with a degree in nursing.
Basic Info: 5-4, 145lbs., from St. Paul, MN; 31 years old
Potter is one of the two veterans on the team, having been a member of Team USA since its gold medal performance back in 1998.
She has a medal of every color (gold in '98, silver in '02 and bronze in '06), and recoreded a hat-trick against China in game one in Vancouver.
Potter paid for her equipment at a young age by getting a paper route, and while at Minnesota-Duluth was a top three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award (best player in women's NCAA hockey).
Potter, now a mother of two, runs Potter's Pure hockey with her husband Robert, teaching hockey skills to young athletes.
Basic Info: 5-9, 190lbs., from Hampton Woods, MI; 30 years old
Like Potter, Ruggiero has also been on Team USA since 1998 in Nagano, making her fourth Olympic games.
Ruggiero scored 234 points in 127 games at Harvard and has school records in goals (91) and assists (152).
She has won three world gold medals and six silver medals, and has played over 200 games for Team USA.
Ruggiero actually appeared on season six of The Apprentice, but was fired midway through. Donald Trump offered her a job still, but she declined so she could continue to play with Team USA.
She plans to retire after the Vancouver games.
Basic Info: 5-8, 148lbs., from Natick, MA; 21 years old
Schaus is making her Olympic debut and is third on the goaltender depth chart, behind Vetter and McLaughlin.
When she was nine, she watched the 1998 Team and now gets to compete with Potter and Ruggiero.
Like McLaughlin, her goaltending days started early because the only way that Schaus' brothers would let her play with them was to be goalie.
Schaus also played softball, soccer, and ran cross country in high school.
Basic Info: 5-5, 130lbs., from Brooklyn Heights, OH; 22 years old
Stack is making her Olympic debut and set a Boston College freshman record when she recorded 37 assists.
She followed her brothers into hockey, but since there were no girl teams around, during high school she travelled over two hours to play on weekends, where she would get home after midnight at times and have to get up for school early the next morning.
Stack would like to be a football sideline reporter after her hockey days.
Basic Info: 5-8, 164lbs., from Bryn Mawr, PA; 25 years old
Thatcher is also making her Olympic debut and was born on leap day; Feb. 29, 1984, and later moved to Blaine, WA, which is just 30 miles away from Vancouver. So she should have quite the cheering section.
She attended Providence College for three years and is 10th on the scoring list at 132 points.
Thatcher plans to attend grad school somewhere down the line.
Basic Info: 5-8, 169lbs., from Cottage Grove, WI; 24 years old
Vetter is the starting goaltender for Johnson, and has appeared in four National Tournaments, winning three for the Badgers.
She was the 2009 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, as she posted a .078 goals against average enroute to her third national title.
At Wisconsin, Vetter set records in wins (91), shutouts (39) and save percentage (94.1%).
She has a laid-back style both on and off the ice, and is making her Olympic debut.
Like many Wisconsinites, she is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, and she still loves Brett Favre.
Basic Info: 5-4, 142lbs., from Anchorage, AK; 29 years old
Weiland also played under Johnson at Wisconsin and is making her Olympic debut after being cut from the '06 team, where she remained as a spectator.
At age five, she followed her brother (seven) to hockey sign ups and played on several boys teams, including their high school team.
Weiland never felt afraid of opponents gunning for her because she knew that her team had her back on the ice.
Basic Info: 6-0, 180lbs., from Rockford, IL (later Eagle River, WI); 23 years old
Zaugg-Siergiej is also making her Olympic debut after playing at Wisconsin under Johnson, where she graduated in 2008.
She won two National Championships with the Badgers and holds school records in goals (89), power play goals (79) and game-winning goals (22).
Zaugg-Siergiej is the proclaimed 'Eagle River's Hockey Daughter' and played on several boys teams thoughout her career.
After hockey, Zaugg-Siergiej wants to own a small farm as well as coach high school hockey somewhere.
Alright, you've met the women of Team USA hockey. Let's just hope that they can now come home with the gold.