U.S. women’s national ice hockey captain Meghan Duggan owns some serious hardware from her time on the ice: two Olympic silver medals and seven world championship gold medals. But the 30-year-old forward and Massachusetts native — who learned to skate when she was only 3 — has passions off the ice that many people aren’t aware of. We uncovered five little-known facts about the two-time Olympian and PyeongChang hopeful.
1. She Auditioned For “The Voice,” And Actually Moved On
If you ask her teammates who the best singer in the group is, they will unanimously say Duggan. But despite that being common knowledge, she admitted that a lot of people don’t know that, “I actually auditioned for ‘The Voice.’”
“I wanted to do it for me,” Duggan said. “As athletes we’re so comfortable under our equipment and out on the rink doing what we do. But I’m all about challenging myself in different ways. I knew that would push me out of my comfort zone but also something that I would enjoy and learn a lot from — and I did.”
While her favorite artists to sing along to are Beyoncé and Rhianna, she said she chose to sing “Baby Girl” by Sugarland and “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks as she also has a love for country music.
Those songs got her past the first round to the interview portion. “I left with a piece of paper that said, ‘Congratulations, you made it as far as you can at this point. If you hear from us in July, you’re going to have to relocate to LA.’ I didn’t hear from them.”
But she said it was probably for the best because this was the summer right after the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, and “it would have been right at the same time as training camp.”
As a self-described “music person” who puts headphones on and listens to tunes to “try to get in the zone” before every game, she described the singing audition experience as “really fun. Maybe I’ll do it again.”
2. She Has A Pre-Game Ritual Involving A Teammate
It’s common for an athlete to have a sports superstition. But it’s not common for that good luck charm to involve another person. Duggan called the ritual she does, “mirror time.”
“[Teammate] Brianna Decker and I go into the bathroom and we have this whole routine,” she said. “We look at ourselves in the mirror and it’s really like a self-talk moment. We do it to pump ourselves up.”
If you’re curious what that looks like, Duggan explained further. “We look in the mirror and we say like, ‘OK Megs, you got this. Let’s do this.’ We like to set our intentions for the game, which is always fun. But we take it pretty seriously.”
On the off chance that there’s only one mirror, she said, they take turns. “She’ll stand to the side while I go, and then I’ll wait for her to go. Then we fist bump on the way out, and we’re ready to go.”
3. She Is An Admitted Sneaker Junkie
Some people collect antiques, while others stamps or coins. But Duggan said the thing she has the most of are sneakers. “I have a lot. It might be a problem,” she said about her collection of 200-plus pairs of athletic shoes.
Even though she calls the addiction “ridiculous,” she said, “I just love running shoes.” It doesn’t help that she has been sent “tons and tons of pairs to try, too. I’m very fortunate.”
Despite struggling with having enough space for them all — or being able to find the pair she wants when she wants them — she said she can’t stop collecting them. “I get them and wear them and then see a new pair that I want and I get them. And then I wear them.”
4. She Has A Vegetable Garden
The saying, “It takes one to know one,” is how Duggan said she got into gardening in the first place.
“I get it from my mom. She gardens all the time,” she explained.
So what does she like to put in her raised organic bed?
“Sometimes I call it my salsa garden because I’ll grow tomatoes, cilantro, peppers. I’ve had lettuce in there. I love to do it.”
If you follow Duggan on Instagram, you know she’s a total foodie — and loves to make use of everything she grows by either cooking with it or putting it in her juicer. She has made everything from homemade turmeric tonic shots to veggie burgers. Down the road, she said she also hopes to have her own chickens so she can have fresh eggs.
5. She Loves Playing Bananagrams (As Does The Team!)
As if playing in international competitions like the world championships and Olympic Games wasn’t stressful enough, the U.S. women’s ice hockey team has also created a tournament out of the game Bananagrams.
The word tile game is played like Scrabble – but without the board, and can be played by up to eight people. At the 2016 world championships in Canada, the captain said, “our team had a Bananagrams tournament where everyone had a partner and we played against each other. If you won you knock the other group out until it comes down to one versus one.”
Thankfully it didn’t end in hard feelings but rather “a big ceremony with a trophy,” she admitted. “It was awesome!”
However, the tournament almost didn’t happen this year. Even though she said the banana-shaped game is “really easy to travel with” no one remembered to pack it because, she said, “there was just so much going on before that.” Duggan had the idea to reach out to the company to share with them their team snafu and they graciously responded by sending not only multiple versions of the game to their hotel, but “they also put USA and American flags on the bags, which was really cool,” she said.
“It’s such a great game and we have so much fun playing it.”