Brianna Decker handles the puck during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game against Canada at the Winter Olympic Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 15, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.

 

Seventy-four years after men’s hockey made its Olympic Winter Games debut, women finally got their chance to pursue Olympic dreams at the 1998 Nagano Games. That tournament wasn’t only historic for the game of hockey, it ended up being an iconic moment for women’s hockey in the United States. Team USA brought home the gold and inspired a generation along the way.

Some of the girls that grew up watching legends like Cammi Granato, A.J. Mleczko and Angela Ruggiero were on Team USA 20 years later in PyeongChang, where they duplicated the 1998 team’s gold-medal performance. Who will be on the team in 2038 remains to be seen, but U.S. players and fans hope it won’t be that long before another gold medal. They’d like to start with a repeat in Beijing, but there’s a formidable opponent to the north in their way.

For all of Team USA’s success in women’s hockey, Canada has often gotten the best of their rivals when it comes to gold medals. In between U.S. Olympic triumphs, Canada won four straight. The teams have met in all but one gold-medal game in Olympic history.

While some familiar names will be missing in Beijing — such as the now-retired Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, who scored the winning shootout goal four years ago to clinch gold —the U.S. is still an experienced team. Fifteen players on the 23-player roster have Olympic experience. Thirteen of those players were on the ice for the gold medal in PyeongChang while Megan Bozek and Alex Carpenter last competed at the 2014 Games.

Updated on January 28, 2022. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

Forward Hilary Knight will be joining an exclusive club in Beijing as she becomes just the fourth woman in U.S. hockey history to play in four Olympic Games. Teammates Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein will all be making their third appearances.

It’s likely that no two teams in the world know each other as well as the U.S. and Canada. In addition to meeting in the gold-medal game of the 2021 world championships — a 3-2 overtime win for Canada — the teams played a series of exhibition games across the U.S. and Canada throughout the fall and winter. Canada ended up winning four of the six games, but all were very close, with three going to overtime. The last four major international finals between the U.S. and Canada — the 2018 Olympic gold-medal game and the 2016, 2017 and 2021 world championship games — have all required at least one extra frame.

While eight players are new to the Olympic Games, they don’t lack big-game experience. Some like forward Grace Zumwinkle have gained experience playing in the world championships, and some like defenseman Savannah Harmon are national championship winners in college. All 23 players on Team USA played or will play college hockey, with Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, Alex Carpenter and Kendall Coyne Schofield having won the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in women’s college hockey.

Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Illinois): Perhaps best known for her speed — she more than held her own against the NHL’s fastest players at the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend — Coyne Schofield is one of Team USA’s most consistent scorers. She’s also been a team leader, serving as captain at the 2019 world championships.

Megan Keller (Farmington, Michigan): Keller is one of Team USA’s defensive workhorses, averaging more than 21 minutes of ice time four years ago in PyeongChang. The 25-year-old was one of the best defensemen in Boston College history, ending her career as the program’s all-time leading scorer among blueliners.

Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho): No U.S. player has seen or done more than Knight, whose debut with Team USA came back in 2006. She’s still only 32, but that will make her the oldest women’s hockey player in U.S. Olympic history. In addition to her three Olympic medals, Knight has won 11 world championship medals and racked up more than 200 career points.

Maddie Rooney (Andover, Minnesota): All three U.S. goalies could see time in Beijing, but it was Rooney who rose to the occasion in 2018. She allowed just five goals in four games to lead the tournament with a 1.16 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. The 24-year-old has dealt with injuries in recent years, including being sidelined for the 2021 world championships. Rooney shut out Canada in one game of exhibition action in November.

Meet the rest of the U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team in this teamusa.org article.  

Feb. 3 – U.S. vs. Finland
Feb. 5 – U.S. vs. Russian Olympic Committee (ROC)
Feb. 6 – U.S. vs. Switzerland
Feb. 8 – U.S. vs. Canada
Feb. 11 – Playoff round begins with quarterfinals
Feb. 16 – Bronze-medal game
Feb. 17 – Gold-medal game