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Meghan Duggan, Captain Of 2014 And ’18 Olympic Teams, Calls It A Career

By Karen Price | Oct. 13, 2020, 3:10 p.m. (ET)

Meghan Duggan skates against Finland at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 19, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.


Meghan Duggan told anyone who would listen when she was just 10 years old that she was going to go to the Olympics one day and captain the U.S. women’s hockey team to a gold medal.

She made good on that promise and so much more over the course of her hockey career, and on Tuesday the three-time Olympian announced it’s time for the next chapter.

Duggan, 33, leaves the game after 14 years with the national team as a three-time Olympian and seven-time world champion. She captained two of those Olympic teams and three world-title winning teams, and she’s one of only 12 players to be named to three or more U.S. Olympic women’s hockey teams.

“Today is an incredibly exciting day for my family and I, but it’s also, as you can imagine, still an emotional one and something that I love feeling the emotion about because I’ve had a wonderful journey, a wonderful career, and it’s been in incredible honor and a privilege to be put in a position to have the opportunities that I’ve had,” she said during a video conference.

Duggan first announced her retirement via a personal essay published on ESPN.com, and wrote at length about her career. In addition to the highs there were also lows, she said, such as the circumstances behind winning her second Olympic silver medal at the 2014 Winter Games in after making her debut in Vancouver in 2010. 

The U.S., which won the gold medal the first year women’s hockey was included in the Olympics in 1998 but not since, was leading 2-0 late in the Sochi gold-medal game but Canada tied the score and then won in overtime. Duggan said she was devastated that she couldn’t lead the team to the gold medal.

Four years later, Duggan’s lifelong dream came true. Back for her third Olympic Games, Duggan was again captain, and the team once again met Canada in the gold-medal game in PyeongChang. This time Team USA won in a shootout. Duggan won her third Olympic medal and her first gold. 

But she said that one of the biggest moments in her hockey career came the year before, in 2017, in a boardroom instead of on the ice. That’s where Duggan represented not only the U.S. team but women across the sport and beyond as they fought for fair and equitable pay and treatment compared to the men and eventually inked a historic four-year deal with USA Hockey.

After threatening to boycott the IIHF World Championships when negotiations came to a standstill, the team went on to not only play but also win gold on home ice in Plymouth, Michigan.

“That’s a big part of our team’s legacy and something that I know every single woman on our team is proud of,” she said. “I think it’s something that USA Hockey can be proud of. We were able to move through that and work through things together and be on the right side of history. Then going on to win the gold medal in the world championships followed by the gold medal in the Olympics was really just wonderful icing on cake.”

Meghan Duggan looks on at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.


Current U.S. women’s team captain Kendall Coyne Schofield said it’s been an honor to have been Duggan’s teammate and said her leadership leaves a lasting mark. 

“Honestly, I think the legacy you leave on this program is so far greater than the accomplishments and accolades we’ve all heard of what you’ve done on the ice,” she said. “It’s what you’ve done off the ice that is so important. You’ve definitely left this game better than when you entered it, and you’re going to continue to do so.”

In total, Duggan played in 144 games for the national team and scored 43 goals and 35 assists. In addition to her national team career, she also played six seasons of professional hockey in both the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the National Women’s Hockey League. A native of Danvers, Massachusetts, she played college hockey at Wisconsin, where she won three NCAA championships and won the Patty Kazmaier Award for the best player in Division I in her senior season of 2010-11. 

Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey, said that whenever he hears her name he will always immediately think of the word “leader.”

“Meghan Duggan’s been an incredible leader for the U.S. women’s national team program for what seems like forever, her entire career,” he said. “That’s who she is as a person and frankly, for me and USA Hockey, I’m just glad that as she moves on to this next chapter of her life she will stay and be a leader with us. She’s on our board of directors and an athlete director for USA Hockey, so as much as we will not see her on the ice in one of our jerseys I know we will see her in our boardroom and our meetings and being a leader for USA Hockey to help the next generation of boys and girls fall in love with hockey, play and achieve the highest levels internationally that we possibly can.”

Duggan said it was just a “gut feeling” that this was the right time to retire. She last played for the U.S. internationally at the Olympics in PyeongChang, and married Canadian Olympic hockey star Gillian Apps that fall. The couple welcomed their first child in February, a son named George. 

Karen Price

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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