The scene at Four Nations
Last week, Hilary Knight and the U.S. hockey team played against Canada, Finland and Sweden in the Four Nations Cup, held in Lake Placid, N.Y. The U.S. -- the 2013 world champions -- finished third, while Canada took the title. Knight, a forward on the team, takes us behind the scenes of the tournament.
The ladies -- my team -- clad in red, white and blue. The finest females in this sport, I may add. We’re in lines, walking out in order by our numbers at the same arena where 1980’s Miracle on Ice happened. Hosting the Four Nations Cup in the same building is an unreal feeling. As I was stepping out onto the ice, I couldn’t help but think about how one of the greatest and most influential moments in sports history happened here -- and now here I was, skating on the same surface, in the same building, decades later.
As you walk into our dressing room, the halls are lined with plaques that date back to the first U.S. women’s national team. At first you see the spectacular hairstyles and get a few chuckles spotting old teammates in their younger years (ahem Angela Ruggiero, aka the Original Baby Huey -- she then passed the nickname to me for the 2010 Olympic Games). But then, a real appreciation and feelings of gratitude set in. I can’t help but think how incredible these women were in representing our country, inspiring and trailblazing a path for younger generations.
I had to snap a picture of Cammi Granato (top right) because I remember watching her lead the 1998 team to a gold medal. She was a huge inspiration to me when I was growing up, and she is also partly the reason why I wear the same number, 21.
The drawn mustache on my finger serves one major purpose: I like to make people laugh. In order to perform your best, you need to love what you do and have fun doing it. I also like to pop out of laundry bins and waddle around the cold tubs.
I have a special jingle for our veteran of the team, Julie Chu. When I pass her in the hallways I sing the “Scooby Doo” theme song, but insert Julie's name because it rhymes. I’m saving my loquacious voice for a later time but the lyrics are as follow: “Julie, Julie Chu, where are you? We’ve got some work to do now …”
Bri McLaughlin started this crocheting craze on our team. It began on a bus trip, and by the time we got to Lake Placid, people were begging her to teach them her ways. Julie, pictured here, is a proud and phenomenal product from the Brianne McLaughlin School of Crochet. I am not exaggerating when I say six or seven people returned with bags full of yarn! I have put in a few clothing requests, but none have been fulfilled. I don’t think Bri or Julie took my request (finger sock with a mustache stitched on) as a serious request.
As you can see, there is a fair amount of downtime at the Four Nations Cup. Some people like to crochet and make hats, while others like to play cards -- and play more cards. I asked if we could play my favorite game, Egyptian Ratscrew, but Bues (Kate Buesser) has lost too many times and politely declined my game offer.
(Pictured from left to right: Kate Buesser, Jessie Vetter and Molly Schaus)
A little hangout session. I think Jincy Dunne (far right), our youngest player at 16 years old, appears to be tutoring the older players. After all, she did beat Kacey Bellamy (to her right) and Julie Chu in our team’s version of “Are You Smarter than an 11th Grader?”
In all seriousness, we have a wonderful group of girls and great team chemistry -- and it’s only natural we help mentor one another both on and off the ice. This team is family and not many people (aside from the Duggar family) can say they have 24 amazing sisters.
(Pictured from left to right: Gigi Marvin, Anne Schleper, Kacey Bellamy and Jincy Dunne)
The movie “Bridesmaids” continues to be a shining beacon of comedy that most of us relentlessly quote. After watching the scene in the beginning of the movie where Kristen Wiig says she needs dental, I decided to put a chocolate chip over one of my teeth and smile at people to see their reactions. It all goes back to rule No. 1: Have fun.
I want to give a huge shoutout to this team -- Sarah Cahill, Jill Radzinski and Jennifer Chee. They are the team behind the team, and are in charge of everything that helps aid, heal and bind the 25 players who compete for the United States.
My biggest supporters! Sorry to my three baby brothers, James Jr., Remington and William -- Mom and Dad took the cake! What a treat to be able to skate in front of my parents while representing our country. The jury is still out on who I resemble most, though. Thoughts?