The women's hockey rivalry between the United States and Canada will be on full display at the 2022 Winter Olympics, and this year's U.S. team is full of local stars who will be aiming to keep the Canadian squad from climbing back to the top of the medal stand.
The defending Olympic champions, Team USA will look to once again take down their rivals to the north, Canada, in a battle that has been brewing on the world's stage for years.
This year's lineup will feature some veterans, and some newcomers to the Olympic stage, with six members of the team calling the Chicago area home.
Taking the ice for the 2022 Games are Evergreen Park's Abbey Murphy; Hilary Knight, who grew up in Lake Forest, Northbrook's Jesse Compher; Palos Heights-native Kendall Coyne Schofield; and Buffalo Grove's Megan Bozek.
This year's team is hoping to continue the dominance brought during the 2018 Games, when the U.S. snapped a gold-medal winning streak from Canada.
The two women’s hockey teams are no strangers when it comes to competing for international glory. With six Olympic medals on each end, the teams have established themselves as powerhouses in the sport.
At the 2014 Sochi Games, Team USA lost to Canada 3-2 in overtime. The U.S. took home silver for the second time in a row, and Canada won their fourth consecutive gold medal.
Hillary Knight, a forward from Lake Forest, Illinois, recalled falling short of snapping the Candians’ reign.
“The fashion in which we lost, sort of that heartbreak, gut-wrenching,” Knight said. “I don’t even know if we’ve fully turned the page to be honest.”
Coyne Schofield was one of seven players from the 2014 team who continued their Olympic campaign in 2018 at PyeongChang. Coyne Schofield said veterans and new members alike understood what they had the opportunity to accomplish at their next appearance at the Games, and they eventually materialized it.
For the first time in 20 years, the American women clinched the gold medal, beating Canada in dramatic fashion. Their shootout win validated everyone’s contributions to the team, and was a seminal moment for a generation of stars.
“It’s one of those things that you’ll remember forever,” Knight, who scored the first goal in the win, said.
“As an Olympian, as a Paralympian, it’s your whole life,” Coyne Schofield added. “A lot of people think it’s every four years, but it’s every day. It’s your whole life that you’ve worked for this moment.”
Coyne Schofield said it won’t be easy for Team USA to repeat history in Beijing, as the American squad has never won back-to-back gold medals in the sport, but knows it will be a tough road for Canada, too.
The team credits its strong bond for its successes so far, and throughout it all, everyone is feeling grateful for the support back at home.
“When I’m on the ice, I’m not just representing myself,” Knight said. “It’s definitely a part of something bigger than myself.”
The United States will drop the puck on their Group A schedule on Thursday with a game against Finland. The Finnish team won the bronze medal during the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, and will give the American squad a tough battle in their opening game.
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