Which member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team will do anything on a dare? Who has the best nickname? We asked the women, who last month won a historic gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 – the country’s first in 20 years, to label their teammates and these are the titles they said best described one another.
Best Nickname: Lee Stecklein; Runner-Up: Maddie Rooney
Three-time Olympian Hilary Knight explained why Stecklein gets called Shamu and whale trainer. And it’s not what you’re thinking!
“She wears these tights underneath her hockey equipment and it literally looks like someone who trains dolphins or whales,” Knight said. “The only thing missing is her flippers.”
Goalie and rookie national teamer Maddie Rooney often gets called by her last name, but didn’t understand why her teammates thought the way they were saying it was so funny. Megan Bozek, a 2014 Olympic silver medalist and part of the national team leading up to the 2018 Games, explained that they chant it like they do the main character in the popular football movie “Rudy.”
“Maddie told us that she’d never seen the movie, so she doesn’t even get why we chant her name like that,” Bozek said. “She’s young. She’s only 19 so it makes sense that she’s never seen the movie. But it gave us a good laugh.”
Biggest Clown: Hilary Knight; Runner-Up: Amanda Kessel
Everyone on the team agreed Knight is the clear winner of this award. According to Megan Keller, “Hilary plays a lot of pranks. So you always have to be ready for those. One of my first tournaments she put fake cockroaches outside our door. And then down the road some of our teammates had real cockroaches in their room who believed they were fake because they thought it was Hilary pulling another prank.”
Hannah Brandt chose Kessel because she “constantly has some trick up her sleeve or some prank she’s trying to pull.”
Brandt recalled a few specific instances from their college days together at Minnesota. Like when Kessel would…
“She would put a cup of water under your helmet so when you put it on for the game you get it all over you.”
Or that time when…
“She did something specifically to me. My photo was on the official program so she put them all over the locker room and lounge — just everywhere you looked there was my picture. I got her back. When she was on the program the first game back we put them all over the inside of the rink. They were on the net for warm-ups, but of course, she came in and knocked them down in two shots and hit the corners perfectly.”
Most Daring: Brianna Decker
Every player chose Decker as the most daring on the team.
“She’s always the first one to accept any dare,” goalie Nicole Hensley revealed about the forward. “She’ll do anything for an extra $10. One time when we were at a restaurant she ate a whole thing of wasabi.”
Kali Flanagan recalled her favorite daring moment that she witnessed.
“One time Decker got paid $20 to eat a hairball,” Flanagan said. “It was a really horrifying moment.”
Monique Lamoureux-Morando clarified that, “She didn’t eat it. She just touched it with her tongue.”
However, she said, “Someone almost did convince her to swim across the pond at the hotel because she didn’t realize there were alligators in there. She thought about doing it. If you entice her with a little bit of money or a reward, you can convince her to do just about anything.”
Decker didn’t disagree. Her favorite thing she did for money? “Probably the wasabi one,” she said. “It was easy. And everyone pitched in like $5 each. Who wouldn’t do it?”
Late To Their Own Wedding: Gigi Marvin; Runner-Up: Monique Lamoureux-Morando
“She’s just so easygoing and laid back,” Flanagan explained. “I feel like she would be like, oh, it’s not big deal. I’ll get there when I get there.”
Two-time world champion Annie Pankowski, who just missed out on an Olympic team spot, agreed.
“She does her own thing all the time, and shows up when she wants,” she said.
Bozek chose Lamoureux-Morando “because she’d probably be on FaceTime with her dog.”
The U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team celebrates after defeating Canada in the gold-medal game at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 22, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
Most Likely To Win The Lotto And Lose The Ticket: Hannah Brandt
Brandt won this title unanimously. Stecklein — who has known Brandt for a long time — described her teammate as someone “who has some really good luck, but she can be goofy sometimes — so I can see that happening to her.”
Alex Rigsby chalked it up to Brandt being “a little forgetful.”
Dani Cameranesi echoed the sentiment, calling her teammate “forgetful a lot of times, but she can also get really lucky at times.”
Biggest Flirt: Amanda Kessel; Runner-Up: Kacey Bellamy
Kelly Pannek described Kessel as someone who “just has that personality, and is funny like that. She just puts herself out there, and is comfortable in a lot of different situations.”
Bozek agreed about Kessel, saying, “She just talks to everyone.” But she was quick to peg Bellamy as a close second. Decker revealed Bellamy’s flirting technique “is to pick on someone. I’ve seen her do that a lot.”
Best Hair: Alex Rigsby
It’s hard to deny just how amazing Rigsby’s ringlets are, which is why everyone voted for the curly-haired goalie. Meghan Duggan described the style as “crazy curls for days” and said, “As someone who has flat, straight hair I think it’s so nice that she can just get out of the shower, throw product in her hair and it’s perfect ringlets.”
While Rigsby admitted, “I love my curls,” she also said she “went through a phase when I didn’t know how to tame them. It used to be really bad. And in middle school and high school when everyone wanted straight hair I bought a straightener and it looked terrible. I haven’t straightened it since freshman year in college when my teammates straightened it for me when we were stuck on a road trip.”
Most Team Spirit: Meghan Duggan
It’s only fitting that the team captain won this award. Keller described Duggan as “a great leader. She’s always cheering and says the right things at the right time.”
Amanda Pelkey summed up her teammate as “the staple leader of the United States, not even just ice hockey. She would do anything to make our team successful. She never thinks about herself first. The list goes on of how great of a leader she is.”